Sunday, May 31, 2015

Shawnee CERT Training Exercise 5/30/15

On Saturday, 5/30/15 6 members of  the Shawnee CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and our emergency management coordinator joined members of four other teams in responding to a simulated tornado damage incident.

A soon to be demolished church on Midland Drive was the site selected for the exercise.  Prior to the exercise the emergency management coordinator had various simulated situations placed around both interior and exterior locations of the building.  In some cases dummies were used and in some cases volunteers playing the part of a victim were used.

This  exercise allowed the members of the CERT team (all volunteers) to practice various skills that they have been taught.  Like all exercises, it gave the team valuable information and feedback on their skills.  It also emphasized how important it would be to attract more volunteers to the Shawnee CERT.  We currently have approximately 25 members, but in a real life situation only about 25% would be able to show (what we had yesterday).

Needless to say, I personally am happy to be part of this team.

Two important links:

More info with pix of the exercise at Operation100 Facebook page Cick on any of the pix to start the slide show with captions. Or here to see the photo stream.

More info on Shawnee CERT by clicking here   Check periodically to see when the next volunteer training class will be held.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Electric Charging Stations Put on the Back Burner, Good

Well, the council meeting last night was, to say the least, somewhat interesting.  And, one item in particular.

First, to understand this post, take a quick peek at this post about electric vehicle charging stations from last week (5/19/15).

Last night the idea of installing charging stations for electric vehicles came before the council. Fortunately, clear thinking heads prevailed, even over the belligerent, denigrating, condescending attitude of, yep, you guessed it, Jeff "The Arrogant One" Vaught.

KCP&L wanted to install 10 electric car charging stations (old technology already) on city property and the city was supposed to pay $200-$400 per station for two years.  Vaught kept putting down his fellow council members for not agreeing with him.  He still was pushing the idea that the city would wind up with electric vehicles in its fleet.  That besides the fact that most electric cars get about 80 miles on a full charge and it takes, with the old technology, about 8 hours to fully charge on one of these things but used primarily to "top off".

Throughout Johnson County there are some of these charging stations on various pieces of government land.  But there are also some that are on business property.  And that is what some of the clearer heads on the Shawnee City Council would like to see here.  Virtually all of the other council members saw the logic to that, especially Stephanie Meyer and Mickey Sandifer.  The locations that KCP&L wanted to use would mean that basically someone would come up, plug their vehicle in and wait for it to charge.  With no place to go.

Those locations in JoCo that are on business properties give the vehicle owners the ability to plug in and then go shopping (two examples being the Hy-Vee at 95th & Antioch and the Hen House on 87th Street in Lenexa) And there are various other locations including shopping centers.

We have various locations that would be perfect for these stations.  How about 10 Quivira, or Shawnee Parkway Plaza or the Hy-Vee in Shawnee.  Plus, these locations would either have the vehicle owners or the businesses paying the electric charges...........NOT the taxpayers of Shawnee.
But Vaught, for all his chest thumping about Eco Development and his constant reminders that he is in commercial real estate, apparently cannot understand the benefits of this arrangement.

Curious, will he have to refund to KCP&L the donation they made to his failed mayoral campaign?
:-)   :-)

BTW, go here and there is an interactive map of electric vehicle charging stations, nationwide and you can drill down to any community.


Friday, May 22, 2015

New Municipal Election Procedures

OK, I am not a lawyer, and many times even lawyers disagree on interpretation of laws (evidence various lawsuits).

The legislature passed the new election laws yesterday and the governor will probably be signing the bill into law soon.

Here is how I interpret the new law, as it affects city elections in Shawnee:

1.  We will keep our odd year elections.
2.  We have the option of keeping them non-partisan.
3.  General elections for city positions will move from April to November, primaries if needed would be in August.
4.  Winners in November, would take office in January
5.  Those currently serving whose terms currently expire April 2017/2019 would have their terms extended.
6.  Charter Ordinance 40 would need to be amended (or repealed and a new one issued) to reflect those cycle changes.
7.  It appears that it would still be up to the city to determine the methodology of filling vacant seats on the governing body caused by resignation, death, election to another office, etc.
8.  By keeping the elections in odd years local elections would not be affected by "top of the ballot" offices such as president, governor, congress, senate (US) etc.

Please do not take the above as being the final/accurate interpretation of the new law, but I'd bet it's real close.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Memorial Day Monday 5/25/15

Please remember, it's not just about BBQs and a day off from work.  It is about why we can have those BBQs and a day off from work.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Shawnee

At last month's council committee meeting a proposal from KCP&L to install electric charging stations was moved forward for the council to consider.  More info is at this article in the Shawnee Dispatch.

The agreement calls for KCP&L to install ten of these chargers, for use with electric vehicles, on city property.  The costs of the installation to be absorbed by KCP&L.  The kicker that comes into play is that the city would pay for the electricity used for two years.  The current estimate for that is $400 per station per year.

Jeff Vaught questioned as to why more of these stations were not planned for western Shawnee.  In his statements he intimated but didn't say that it would be folks in that part of town that were more likely to spend the money for an electric vehicle.  The KCP&L representative said that since Westar Energy handled most of western Shawnee, that that would be up to them.  Hmmmm, doesn't he know who his electric provider is?

Anyway, another comment by Vaught was interesting.  From the article:  "Vaught said putting the charging stations at public facilities also gives the city the option of purchasing some electric vehicles in the future."  Since most of these vehicles only get 60-80 miles on a full charge I'm wondering how many vehicles the city would obtain?  How effective are they?  My question is why, if the cost of these vehicles is such that there are a limited number of folks who can afford them, should the city absorb the first two years of the charging station costs? 

My thoughts:  If ya can afford one of these cars, you can afford to pay for the electricity and you need to be happy that more charging stations are being installed.  The council IMHO should approve the installation of these units, but not absorb two years worth of electrical costs.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Ward IV Council Member Selected

At the special council meeting last night Brandon Kenig was selected as the Ward IV council member to serve the unexpired seat of newly elected mayor Michelle Distler.  The position will come up for election April 2017.

His background is in information technology and he has served on the city's planning commission.

There is now a position open on the city's planning commission.  To apply for the position submit a letter of interest, with a resumé, indicating that you are interested in the open planning commission position, to:
Mayor’s Office - Shawnee City Hall
11110 Johnson Drive
Shawnee, KS 66203

Friday, May 08, 2015

Date & Time for Special Council Meeting-Ward IV Vacancy

The special council meeting will be Monday, 5/11/15 at 6:30PM at City Hall

Copies of the resumés for the individuals who have applied for the position are available on line by clicking here

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Filling the Ward IV Vacancy

On Monday My 11, 2015 the City Council will hold a special meeting prior to the regular meeting to choose an individual to fill the vacant Ward IV position.

The agenda for that meeting will be posted on the city's web site on Thursday 5/7/15 usually at the end of the day at   Please check that posting for the meeting time.

Rather than wait until tomorrow to read the resumés for free, I've been paying for the copies as they were filed as I wanted to review them as soon as possible.  As a Ward IV resident I have a particular interest in this appointment. 

So, what did I learn?  I leaned that five individuals showed an interest in serving and filed for the position.  I commend them for that.

Now, let's cut to the chase.  Of the five applicants, the one that stands out most in my mind as being the best suited for the position, IMHO, is Douglas Hill.  He has been employed by GM for over 30 years and has had increasing positions of responsibility during that period of time.  Currently he is responsible for an element of their business with a $110 million annual budget, a three shift operation, and has had administrative responsibility for local and national collective bargaining agreements.  He would be my first choice.

When the information is posted tomorrow you will be able to view all the resumés. 

Friday, May 01, 2015

Where is Your Money Going?

Over the years I have heard many folks ask "Why is the city spending money on xyz?"  or "Why doesn't the city spend money on abc?"

Then I ask those folks "have you ever attended a council budget session?"  And they look at me like I was being ridiculous.  The "city's money" is really your money.  Why not sit in on some of these sessions and see and hear what is happening with your money.  You have a right to do that.  Heck, you have an obligation to do that.  You also have a right to contact your council members and voice your opinion(s).  Do it!!!!!

This year the first budget session will be Tuesday, 5/5/15 at the council committee meeting, scheduled for 7PM, which is following a special call meeting of the city council at 6:30PM the same night.

For a complete schedule of the budget meetings this year please click here.