Olathe City Council seeks input regarding future ahead of strategic plan update

Where should Olathe go next? The Olathe City Council is asking the public for some big ideas as it embarks on a planning effort that will guide the city through the next two decades. In preparation for updating the Olathe Strategic Plan, the City Council is asking citizens to consider two questions: ▪ What trends are you observing that you feel the city needs to pay attention to so Olathe will continue to be a great place to live for future generations? ▪ What external disruptions (positive or negative) on a local, regional, national or global scale could change or improve our community? Citizens can offer their thoughts through Feb. 26 at OlatheKS.org/PublicEngagement. Boundary tweak mulled for Madison Place Elementary The Olathe School District wants to meet with parents Feb. 22 to discuss a potential middle school change for some students at Madison Place Elementary School. Under current boundaries, a small number of Madison Place students move on to Indian Trail Middle School, while the rest attend Chisholm Trail Middle School. No decisions have been made, but the district is considering having all Madison Place students go to Chisholm Trail. The discussion is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Madison Place Elementary, 16651 S. Warwick St. Hey, kids, want to help design a playground? Olathe is turning to young experts as it designs a new playground for Lake Olathe: Those would be the kids who might use it. At a hands-on design workshop the morning of March 3, children will work with natural materials to help design the destination nature playground. Information gathered there will be incorporated to the extent possible. Playground design consultant Michelle Mathis, from Oregon-based Learning Landscapes, will lead the workshop, which is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon at the Mahaffie Heritage Center, 1200 E. Kansas City Road. School administrator to retire After a 40-year career in public education, Mark O’Dell will retire at the end of June Continue Reading

After brief debate, Town of Amherst hires strategic planning director

The Town of Amherst hired a new director of strategic planning Tuesday night -- over the objections of one Town Board member and a town Republican committee member. The Town Board voted, 4-1, to appoint Maggie Hamilton Winship to the job that will pay $75,092 per year, with the Village of Williamsville expected to cover $15,000 of her salary in a shared-services agreement between the two governments. Winship was hired as the village's director of community development when Amherst Supervisor Brian J. Kulpa was the Village of Williamsville's mayor. Kulpa said Winship will focus on economic development and redevelopment in her new post. "I'm looking forward to sharing services with the village. I'm looking forward to creating savings for both the town and the village with this hire," Kulpa said at Tuesday's meeting. "And I'm looking forward to having a very talented person join us." Maggie Hamilton Winship (Photo courtesy Maggie Winship) Mark Rivard, the GOP committeeman, said the hiring of Winship and, previously, Joe McMahon, the supervisor's new chief of staff, show that Kulpa intends to be a "part-time supervisor." "Why don't we start thinking about how much this is costing the taxpayers," said Rivard, who Tuesday compared Kulpa unfavorably to his Republican predecessor, Barry A. Weinstein. He called on the Democratic supervisor to resign. One audience member yelled at Rivard to sit down. Another, Adrienne Kotler, a former deputy town clerk, shouted that Weinstein was the true part-time supervisor. Weinstein continued to practice medicine for a time after taking office. "I have been full time. I'm going to be full time," Kulpa said. Board member Deborah Bruch Bucki cast the only no vote -- saying she supported the idea of shared services but thought the town should have conducted a search before selecting Winship. Winship is joining the town's Planning Department, which will have a new director with the retirement of Eric Gillert after 18 years in the job. Continue Reading

Amherst, Williamsville plan to share economic development employee

The Town of Amherst and Village of Williamsville are working out a deal to share an employee who would focus on economic development in both communities. Supervisor Brian J. Kulpa plans to hire Maggie Hamilton Winship -- who served as Williamsville's director of community development when Kulpa was the village's mayor -- for a new town job as director of strategic planning. "It's really a position I'm sort of surprised the town didn't have before," Kulpa said. The town would pay Winship about $75,000 per year, with the village paying about $15,000 of her salary and receiving her services for one day a week. Winship's hiring would not add to the town's payroll because she would fill the opening from the expected retirement of Amherst's longtime planning director, Eric Gillert, said Kulpa. The town would promote Daniel Howard, the assistant planning director, to take Gillert's place and promote associate planner Ellen Kost to Howard's position, Kulpa said. The town would bring on Winship in the new role instead of hiring a traditional planner for the department. Winship's hiring and the promotions of Howard and Kost are subject to Town Board approval. Kulpa said he has talked to board members and "everybody seems to be on board with it." Kulpa, who took office this month, has said he believes the town needs an employee focused on economic development and redevelopment. He pointed to the need to reinvigorate Amherst's retail corridors along Kenmore Avenue, Niagara Falls Boulevard and Eggert Road and to promote the reuse of vacant office buildings in the town. The Amherst Industrial Development Agency has led economic development initiatives in the town, but no town employee fills that role. Kulpa created the community development position for the village in 2013 and hired Winship, who has a background in real estate and the nonprofit realm, for the job in 2016. In the village, her efforts have focused on smart growth, New Urbanism and creating a sustainable and Continue Reading

WSD Hires Director of Marketing

The Wentzville School District Board of Education has approved the hiring of Derrick Docket as Director of Marketing. This is a new position created as part of a strategic plan to open advertising opportunities within the District.  “This is something we have been looking at doing for some time,” said Superintendent Dr. Curtis Cain. “In the past, there has been a hesitation to allow advertising in our schools, but we believe that the time is right to partner with our local businesses who want to support our students and invest in our success as a growing and well-respected District. We have spent time over the last few years meeting with marketing consultants as well as other school districts who are doing this successfully and in a tasteful way. As the fastest growing school district in the state, we owe it to our taxpayers to examine alternative funding sources. Ultimately it is our hope that advertising will benefit not only our students, but all stakeholders, while also strengthening our partnerships within this fine community.” Docket is currently serving as the Associate Commissioner of New Media & Technology for the Missouri Valley Conference where he has worked for the past seven years. He has a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design/digital imaging with a minor in advertising and promotion from Missouri State University. “I am very excited about the opportunity to develop a marketing and advertising plan for the Wentzville School District,” said Docket. “As the fastest growing district in Missouri, there is a lot of opportunity to position the WSD in the marketplace. I can already see the pride that the community has in the district and I look forward to working with everyone and developing lasting partnerships.” Docket will begin in his new role at the Wentzville School District in January and he will assist in developing the new marketing and advertising plan with a roll out to the community tentatively Continue Reading

Exclusive: The Interior Department Scrubs Climate Change From Its Strategic Plan

In the next five years, millions of acres of America’s public lands and waters, including some national monuments and relatively pristine coastal regions, could be auctioned off for oil and gas development, with little thought for environmental consequences. That’s according to a leaked draft, obtained by The Nation, of the Department of the Interior’s strategic vision: It states that the DOI is committed to achieving “American energy dominance” through the exploitation of “vast amounts” of untapped energy reserves on public lands. Alarmingly, the policy blueprint—a 50-page document—does not once mention climate change or climate science. That’s a clear departure from current policy: The previous plan, covering 2014–18, referred to climate change 46 times and explicitly stated that the department was committed to improving resilience in those communities most directly affected by global warming. Interior’s new strategic plan fits within a broader effort by the Trump administration to marginalize climate-science research. (DOI did not respond to questions about the draft.) Last week the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly withdrew two of its scientists and a contractor from a conference in Rhode Island, where they were due to address the impacts of climate change on coastal waters. EPA websites have also been scrubbed of most references to climate change. At Interior and the Department of Energy, scientists have been discouraged from referring to climate change in grant proposals or press releases. Earlier this month Joel Clement, a top policy adviser and climate scientist at DOI, resigned after being transferred to an accounting position, where he was assigned to collect royalties from the oil and gas industry. Clement, who had spoken out about the impacts of climate change on Native American communities in Alaska, alleges that his reassignment was politically motivated. Understanding the Continue Reading

Four South Shore communities boast of milestones, plan for more growth

SOUTH SHORE - What do bacon, a chiropractor, Caterpillar, Ikea and the loss of a mircrobrewery have in common?They were all up for discussion as mayors from across the South Shore highlighted major developments from 2017 and what the future looks like at a special South Shore Chamber of Commerce meeting Nov. 2.Oak Creek, South Milwaukee, Cudahy, and St. Francis were all represented with the Oak Creek Civic Center hosting the event. The mayors of each respective city presented their highlights and challenges with each other and a small audience.Cudahy Mayor John Hohenfeldt spoke on the city’s first tax incremental financing district covering a “big swath of the city,” which has about two years left. He said this TIF was so successful the state wouldn’t allow another for three years.A TIF district is usually an area that is blighted or has some other element that can make development difficult. Funds from increased property taxes in the district are reallocated to public improvements to encourage investment within the district throughout the life of the TIF.Hohenfeldt highlighted a couple smaller businesses in the city that are expanding. He mentioned an initiative to highlight one local business every so often on the city’s website — a local business spotlight —– which he said not only informs residents but gives local businesses some free advertising. One, noticeable to anyone coming off Interstate 794, is EZ Self Storage, 5133 S. Pennsylvania Ave., which is adding an office and retail component that’s currently under construction.“We’ve come a long way, we’ve got a great story to tell and we’re still going,” Hohenfeldt said.During Hohenfeldt’s spirited presentation he noted 1 million pounds of bacon is made per week at the Patrick Cudahy plant, the city’s largest employer, in a 17,000 square-foot space. Mayor Erik Brooks spoke about the Continue Reading

Most businesses have not changed strategic planning due to Brexit: Thomson Reuters CFO survey

By Alistair Smout LONDON (Reuters) - A majority of businesses are yet to change their strategic planning due to Britain's decision to leave the European Union, a survey of chief financial officers by Thomson Reuters showed. Big businesses were vocal in the run-up to the referendum in June 2016 that a vote to leave the European Union could hit investment and the labor market, with uncertainty lingering over sectors from financial services to the car industry. However, the Thomson Reuters survey of 200 CFOs across Britain and Europe found that 69 percent of businesses had not seen an impact from the vote for Brexit on their strategic planning. "The results suggest a relatively muted response from business so far – not the knee-jerk reaction that some expected," said Laurence Kiddle, managing director for the EMEA Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters. Only 12 percent of CFOs had investigated moving operations out of Britain, and while 34 percent said that they anticipated the number of employees in the UK decreasing, only 19 percent said that they planned to relocate staff as a result of Brexit. Some are changing their plans in response to Brexit already, with 21 percent of all CFOs saying they had have held off from expanding in the UK as a result of the vote. Earlier this month Royal Bank of Scotland said it will move 150 jobs to Amsterdam due to Brexit. However, the survey suggests that CFOs are on average so far sanguine about Britain's departure from the bloc, and some businesses have highlighted the opportunities for firms in Brexit. Swiss private bank Julius Baer is opening three new UK offices as it looks to bank for wealthy residents spooked by the vote, while on Wednesday Amazon ramped up its hiring in Britain yet again despite Brexit. The survey comes after Britain's Brexit strategy was thrown into question by a botched election gamble in June by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who called an early vote to Continue Reading

USA Gymnastics hires new director of safe sport, in-house counsel amid sexual abuse scandal

USA Gymnastics on Wednesday announced the hiring of a director of safe sport and an in-house legal counsel, filling positions created in response to a sexual abuse scandal that has engulfed the organization for nearly a year.Toby Stark will serve as USA Gymnastics’ director of safe sport, while former prosecutor Mark Busby will serve as legal counsel.The creation of the positions was part of 70 recommendations the USA Gymnastics board adopted last month following the conclusion of a review by Deborah Daniels, a former federal prosecutor.Daniels’ report found USA Gymnastics needs a “complete cultural change” after not doing enough to educate its staff, members and athletes about protecting children from sexual abuse and failing to ensure that safeguards were being followed.“These two professionals will help us better protect athletes and continually enhance the systems and processes we have in place,” said USA Gymnastics chief operating officer Ron Galimore in a statement. “Bringing this expertise to USA Gymnastics is another important step because the well-being of athletes is a top priority.”Stark is a longtime child advocate, supporting Chaucie’s Place, an organization focused on child sexual abuse and youth suicide prevention, for the last seven years. Busby was a deputy prosecuting attorney in Marion County (Ind.) for nearly 14 years, handling cases involving domestic violence, child abuse, homicide and major felonies. PUSHING FOR CHANGE: Deaf swimmer could help change the game GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY: U.S. triathletes excited for relay In her role at USA Gymnastics, Stark will oversee all aspects of USA Gymnastics’ safe sport policies, educational programs, reporting and adjudication. She will report safe sport issues to the organization’s board of directors.Busby will handle information about potential abuse, direct investigations and coordinate with the U.S. Center for Continue Reading

SUU unveils new Strategic Plan

The public got the chance to review Southern Utah University’s new Strategic Plan and offer feedback during an open forum Thursday night.The last plan was crafted seven years ago, university officials said.“It has been a year-long process involving 30 faculty staff and students on the committee,” said Ellen Treanor, SUU’s executive director of brand strategy. “They have had numerous meetings and came up with a new mission statement for the university and three core themes. It will be the aspirations for SUU for the next 10 years.”The mission statement: SUU is a dynamic and learning community that engages students in experiential education leading to personal growth, civic responsibility and professional excellence.The vision: SUU will receive national recognition for its innovations in learning, student success and providing the best educational experience in the intermountain west.The three cores are:•Explore: SUU explores diverse ideas, disciplines, skills, cultures and places.The first core theme will seek new ways to expand and support the community surrounding SUU, according to the plan.Some of the details in establishing those include developing a Strategic Inclusion Plan, increasing opportunities for diverse populations and amplifying SUU’s relationship within Iron County and surrounding communities.•Engage: SUU creates engaged, intentional and transformative learning experiences that promote student success.The second core theme seeks to bolster initiatives set forth by the American Association of American Colleges and Universities, support education beyond the classroom, foster creative engagement within the SUU campus and nourish community partnerships on a local, regional, national and global level, according to the plan.“Along with student success comes student retention,” said Michael Dodge, SUU’ vice president of finance and administration. “For that we are spending Continue Reading

When diver found Dick Gamble’s Hall of Fame ring in lake, son Craig was happily hung out to dry

Gary Gavurnik, a scuba diver and hobbyist treasure hunter, said that “95 percent’’ of the stuff he sees on the bottom of lakes and rivers is garbage.“A lot of pull tabs off cans,’’ said the 48-year-old Auburn resident.But sometimes, using a sharp eye and beep of a submersible metal detector, you can find real gold. You can make complete strangers overjoyed with the discovery and return of a treasured family heirloom.Up until three weeks ago, Gavurnik had never heard of Dick Gamble, not until the name of the Rochester Americans legend emerged from the patina as Gavurnik cleaned a ring he retrieved from Canandaigua Lake over the Fourth of July weekend. The ring’s face read: “American Hockey League Hall of Fame.’’“When I found it, it was just sticking out of the sand a tiny bit and I almost missed it,’’ Gavurnik said. “I said, ‘Boy, that looks like something that could be special.’ It just boggled my mind that I found a Hall of Fame ring in the lake but I knew it belonged to the family and I was more than happy to give it back.’’That occurred Monday at the Waterlily Day Spa on Monroe Avenue in Brighton, owned by Dick Gamble’s son, Craig. Gamble and his family were surrounded by No. 9 Amerks jerseys and other pieces of memorabilia from Dick’s storied 19-year professional hockey career, nine of them spent with Rochester."I think I have something that belongs to you," Gavurnik told Gamble. "In fact, I know it belongs to you because it has your name on it."The fact that Gamble, 88, a Pittsford resident, never knew his ring was missing made its return even more shocking and worthy of the pages of Ripley’s Believe it or Not!Where do we begin?For starters, the ever-humble Gamble isn’t one to boast or to obsess over material things. So, after the gifted left winger was enshrined with the AHL's second Hall of Fame class in 2007, he Continue Reading