Overland Park will continue to pick up recycling on a weekly basis.

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Overland Park won’t be changing its requirement that trash haulers pick up curbside recycling on a weekly basis, at least for now.

Waste Management, one of several haulers serving city neighborhoods, had asked that pickups be allowed every two weeks instead. The company said that it’s become more expensive to process recyclables and that it was hoping to compensate by reducing pickup costs.

Earlier this month, the City Council’s Community Development Committee took no action on the request, which means the requirements won’t change.

Lenexa received the same request and recently surveyed residents on their preferences. In introducing the survey, Lenexa said that the value of recyclables has gone down, too.

Olathe schools to form police department

The Olathe School District is creating its own police department so it can receive more detailed and timely information from local police agencies when making decisions to protect students and staff members.

Brent Kiger, the district’s director of safety services, will staff the department.

When safety concerns arise, police agencies can share information freely among themselves. But they cannot provide as many details to the public and to outside entities as school districts can.

By creating the police department with Kiger as a commissioned law enforcement officer, the district can quickly receive what Superintendent John Allison called “the full set of facts” to address safety concerns in the best and most timely way.

“This is not to arm anyone,” Allison told the school board on Feb. 4. “It’s not to establish a police department with multiple officers and roles.”

Assistant Superintendent Jim McMullen said that in a district of Olathe’s size — enrollment is approaching 30,000 students — situations may arise weekly in which more detailed information is needed. As examples, he mentioned car accidents, house fires, suicides and threats of violence against a school.

“Many times, these things are happening late at night, and the ability to get real-time information from our law enforcement partner is critical in terms of student safety and staff safety,” McMullen said.

In a letter to Allison, Olathe Police Chief Michael Butaud said the new arrangement will “greatly enhance our partnership…and safety within the schools and our community.”

The school board gave unanimous approval to the proposal.

Virtual learning may outlive COVID

With or without health concerns, the Blue Valley School District sees value in remote learning for some students and will continue to offer the option next fall.

“No longer a program in response solely to a pandemic, the 2021-22 VirtualED Program will feature several modifications as it evolves to provide additional opportunities, choice and flexibility for students to learn in a variety of formats,” the district said in an electronic newsletter.

Although most students are expected to return to school buildings, the district will preserve the virtual option “for families and students who feel this instructional setting best fits their unique learning needs.”

Details and signups will come later.

Blue Angels in 2021; Thunderbirds next year

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have put Johnson County’s New Century AirCenter on its 2022 tour schedule. Making their first visit to the Kansas City area in 14 years, the elite fliers will headline the 2022 KC Air Show on Sept. 3-4 at New Century.

The 2021 KC Air Show, presented by Garmin and scheduled for July 3-4 at New Century, will feature the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels. Tickets are on sale at kcairshow.org. Tickets for last year’s show, which was canceled by the pandemic, are being honored.

Roeland Park artists featured

Throughout January, the city of Roeland Park’s Arts Committee held its first exhibit featuring exclusively the work of Roeland Park artists.

The works were displayed in George Schlegel Gallery at City Hall, which was named for a longtime art commissioner who died in January.

The featured artists included Christine Webster, Lynda Leonard, Joel Marquardt, Brittany Noriega, Sol Anzorena and Marek Gliniecki.

JCCC students earn sustainability award

The Student Sustainability Committee at Johnson County Community College has earned a Champion of Sustainability award from the American College Personnel Association.

Each year, the award is given to the individual or group that best models the three elements of sustainability, which are healthy environments, social justice and strong economies.

Since its creation in 2009, the Student Sustainability Committee has played a major role in many aspects of campus life, the college said in a news release, and has helped save millions of dollars in energy and materials management costs.

County salutes state mental health effort

The Johnson County Mental Health Center says it supports the work of the new Kansas ‘Stepping Up’ Technical Assistance Center, aimed at keeping people with mental illness out of jail when possible. Gov. Laura Kelly announced the state’s participation on Jan. 26.

The local mental health center said it was one of the first four counties to commit to the goals of the national “Stepping Up” initiative after it began in 2015. Local efforts include a brief mental health screening at the time of booking, a special court for veterans in need of substance use treatment and co-responders embedded within police agencies.

“We are encouraged by Governor Kelly’s announcement to take on this initiative as a statewide priority,” said Tim DeWeese, director of the local mental health center. “We know the value of ‘Stepping Up’ for mental health locally and are committed to help other Kansas counties in any way we can to reduce the incarceration rate of those with mental illness in our state.”

Charter commission formed

Over the next year, a 25-member charter commission will explore ways to improve the structure and operation of Johnson County government.

The commission, required every 10 years under the county’s home rule charter, must submit its findings by Feb. 4, 2022.

Gardner names deputy administrator

Gardner has chosen Amy Nasta to be its new deputy city administrator.

Nasta began working for Gardner in 2017 as city clerk and was promoted to senior management analyst in 2019. Earlier in her career, she was city clerk Eolia, Mo., and has worked for the Walt Disney Company and the Kansas City Zoo.

Help the hungry

For the rest of February at 23 area Cosentino’s Price Chopper stores, the grocer will match $5 or $10 card purchases to benefit the Jewish Family Services Food Pantry.

The “Buy One, Give One” cards are available at the end caps of each check-out lane.

The pantry’s two locations, in Overland Park and Brookside, serve more than 900 families and their pets each month.

For details and store locations, go to jfskc.org/

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