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Olathe Health announces that impending retirement of longtime president and CEO

Olathe Health System President and CEO Frank H. Devocelle, shown here speaking at the grand opening of Olathe Medical Center’s Hospice House in 2014, will retire at the end of the year.
Olathe Health System President and CEO Frank H. Devocelle, shown here speaking at the grand opening of Olathe Medical Center’s Hospice House in 2014, will retire at the end of the year. Kansas City Star

Frank H. Devocelle, longtime president and CEO of Olathe Health System, will retire at the end of 2018.

“Frank will leave an extraordinary legacy,” Board Chairman of the Olathe Health System Jim Hubbard said in a news release, announcing Devocelle’s planned departure. “His vision and leadership have built a strong, regional health system. The communities we serve are proud to call it their own. Our system is poised for a bright future with superb underpinnings of quality patient care. It is a very exciting time at Olathe Health as we grow to meet the needs of our communities.”

The newest addition is a 25,000-square-foot Cancer Center, which was the final phase of the largest expansion in the health system’s history. Other elements of the expansion included a new memory-care neighborhood at Cedar Lake Village; an expanded Cardiovascular Center; and The Birth Place, which includes a Level II neonatal intensive care unit.

A search for Devocelle’s replacement will be led by a select committee of the Olathe Health Board of Directors.

Devocelle joined what was then Olathe Community Hospital in 1971. He became president and CEO in 1975m a role he’s served in ever since. Olathe Community Hospital consisted of 162 employees and gross revenues of $3.2 million in 1975, according to Olathe Health. Today, the organization has nearly 2,600 employees, more than 60 locations in four counties, and annual gross revenues of nearly $1 billion.

Devocelle oversees all health system corporations including Olathe Medical Center Inc., Miami County Medical Center Inc. and Olathe Health Physicians Inc.

“Because of Frank’s visionary leadership, we can all take tremendous pride in Olathe Health. We’ve watched it build upon its traditions of excellence to become a world-class provider of health care services,” Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland said in a statement.

Olathe school official to lead KidsTLC

KidsTLC in Olathe, an organization that provides mental health care for children and families, has chosen an Olathe school administrator as its next leader.

The new CEO is Erin Dugan, now the assistant superintendent for general administration for the Olathe Public Schools. Dugan, a 26-year district employee, previously taught special education in Olathe and held a number of administrative positions in the district’s Special Services Division.

“Erin brings an exceptional background in leadership, working with children facing significant challenges like those we serve, understanding this community and region, and a clear and proven passion for KidsTLC,” the organization’s board chairman, Rick Poccia, said in a news release.

Dugan holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont, as well as a master’s and doctorate from the University of Kansas. Her Ph.D. is in educational leadership and policy studies.

She succeeds Gordon Docking, who left in August. An official start date has not been set, the agency said, but Dugan is on campus when time permits.

“I’ve known and worked with Erin for a number of years, and I have complete confidence her skills and passion will ensure this organization continues to be a regional and national leader in helping our most vulnerable children and their families,” said Mark Siegmund, chief clinical & operations officer for KidsTLC and its interim CEO.

Shawnee Mission district no longer takes your recyclables

If you’ve been dropping paper and other recyclables into a bin outside a Shawnee Mission school, stop going there. The Shawnee Mission School district no longer takes recyclables from the public.

The district said it doesn’t make money on recyclables anymore, and no longer gets them picked up for free. As a result, SMSD is now paying its trash hauler to take recycling materials generated by the schools.

New recycling bins, being delivered this month, will have locks to discourage their use by the public.

“We value recycling in so many ways, and appreciate the community’s past support,” Joan Leavens, the district’s sustainability and community engagement coordinator, said in a news release. “We hope community members can use Johnson County’s curbside recycling service from this point forward.”

Overland Park has a recycling drop-off center at 11921 Hardy St. and there’s a Shawnee site is at Interstate 435 and Holliday Drive on the Waste Management/Deffenbaugh Industries property. Go to for list of recycling centers on both sides of the state line.

Indoor Triathlon at Jewish Community Center

It’s too cold to compete outdoors, but the Jewish Community Center, 5801 W. 115th St. in Overland Park, invites triathletes Feb. 18 to its Indoor Triathlon.

The triathlon includes swimming, biking on Keiser Bikes and a run in two different divisions. Distances are recognized by USAT. All heats will start in the pool, beginning at 7 a.m.

Competitors must sign up by Feb. 16 and registrants will be notified of their start time by Feb. 17.

Participants, who must be at least 14 years old, can register or find more information at

State award honors downtown Merriam group

The Downtown Merriam Partnership is this year’s winner of the Distinguished Public Service Organization Award from the Kansas Recreation & Park Association.

In its nomination, the Merriam Parks and Recreation Department said the partnership successfully advocated for a new community center in Merriam by distributing “Vote Yes” signs to residents last year.

The group is also heavily involved in annual city programs such as the Turkey Creek Festival, Turkey Creek Car Show, Party in Your Park, and other events. The Downtown Merriam Partnership also provides Merriam Aquatic Center scholarships to families in need.

“The work of Parks and Recreation is not possible without a strong volunteer base,” said Anna Slocum, the city’s parks and recreation director.

The Downtown Merriam Partnership is made up of various businesses in the area. Its president, Stoney Bogan, and members Johnny Pieters and Jason Perez accepted the award at the KRPA’s recent conference in Wichita

Final Quivira Road workshop will be Feb. 21

Lenexa will host the final public workshop next week for its Quivira Road Corridor Study, which focuses on the stretch of Quivira from 79th to 99th streets.

The study, to be completed in May, will make recommendations on a long-term vision for land use, transportation enhancements, and the development of character and a sense of place along Quivira

The workshop will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 21 at the Lenexa Community Center, 13420 Oak St., where the city and consulting team will share the final alternative recommendations. Ten-minute overview presentations will be made at 6:15 and 7:30 p.m.

Public comments will help shape the final plan. Comment forms will be available at the meeting and afterward at

You can watch trout stocking at lakes

About 5,400 pounds of rainbow trout will be stocked in two Johnson County lakes on Feb. 21, and residents are invited to watch the process.

About 2:30 p.m., roughly 1,600 pounds of trout will be placed in the lake at Kill Creek Park, 11670 Homestead Lane in Olathe.

The stocking of the lake at Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road in Shawnee, will begin about 3:45 p.m., with about 3,800 pounds of trout.

Each stocking will take place at the lake’s boat ramp. Afterward, both lakes will be closed to fishing until the official trout season begins at 8 a.m. on Feb. 24.

Supplemental stockings — with another 2,000 pounds of trout — are planned for March 9. Those stockings will close the lakes to fishing until 5 a.m. on March 10.

Snow Ball raises $3.1 million for Catholic Charities

The 44th Annual Snow Ball raised more than $3.1 million for the Catholic Charities Foundation of Northeast Kansas, the organization said.

More than 2,000 supporters attended the sold-out gala Jan. 20 at the Overland Park Convention Center. Mike and Maureen Bukaty of Leawood served as Snow Ball presidents for the event.

Tubbesing named Shawnee Citizen of the Year

Business and community leader Kevin Tubbesing was honored late last month as the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce 2017 Citizen of the Year.

During the award ceremony Jan. 27, Tubbesing was described as a small business start-up innovator, real-estate broker, master developer and long-time Shawnee Rotarian. A former member of the Shawnee City Council and Planning Commission, Tubbesing is the principal in Stag Commercial LLC.

The company specializes in infill projects and redevelopment of older areas. Among its projects is Stag’s Creek in eastern Shawnee.

Prison poetry to be featured

Arts in Prison will present a poetry reading by current and former prison inmates at the Johnson County Library’s upcoming “Poetry and Prose” event.

The session, featuring poets from the Lansing Correctional Facility, begins at 6 p.m. on Feb. 20 at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave. in Overland Park.

Arlin Buyert, who has facilitated the poetry program at Lansing for six years, said that reading and writing poetry “brings my students feelings of respect and self-worth.” Of the 15 inmates released after participating in the program, he said, only one has returned to prison — and for just 90 days on a parole violation.

Mission helps businesses with upgrades

The city of Mission is offering grants to businesses for certain exterior improvements and energy upgrades.

Since it began in 2004, the city said, the Mission Business Improvement Grant program has awarded more than $427,000 to 90-plus businesses.

The application deadline for the next round of grants is Feb. 28, and a summer application period is scheduled in June. Find program details and the application form at

Know an outstanding Prairie Village resident?

The Prairie Village Tree Board is accepting nominations through Feb. 28 for this year’s Arbor Day Honoree, which recognizes the contributions of current, former or deceased Prairie Village residents who have made lasting, positive impact.

Nomination forms are available at the city offices on Mission Road or online at Nominations received after the deadline will be considered next year.

Another prestigious science award for Erin Smith

Shawnee Mission West student Erin Smith, who won it all last year at the International BioGENEius Challenge for her research in using facial recognition to diagnose and monitor Parkinson’s Disease, is one of two Kansans to be recognized as Regeneron STS Scholars.

The Parkinson’s research was central to that recognition as well.

A student in the district’s Biotechnology Signature Program, Smith is among 300 students in the country to be recognized. Many of the country’s top scientists are alumni of the program.

Each scholar — in addition to his or her school — receives $2,000 from the Regeneron Science Talent Search Program.

JCCC receives $2 million gift

Retired physicians David and Mary Zamierowski have donated $2 million to help pay for what will be the largest facilities project in the history of Johnson County Community College.

“This gift is intended to fund renovations related to our nursing education program as well as other capital projects associated with the facilities master plan,” said Jerry Cook, chairman of the JCCC Trustees.

For nearly 20 years, the college said, the Zamierowskis have funded scholarships and other initiatives, including international service learning projects to Mexico and Uganda, the creation of the Healthcare Simulation Center, the college’s first endowed professorship for healthcare education and the annual underwriting for the national Healthcare Simulation Conference.

Most recently the couple donated a patent that led to the SAFingerStick, a glucose testing simulation kit that became the first product developed and brought to market by the college. SAFingerStick led to the creation of JC3 Innovations, a division of the JCCC Foundation. Proceeds from selling JC3 Innovations products go to student scholarships.

The Zamierowskis’ gift is part of a private funding drive undertaken by the JCCC Foundation to support a $102.6-million construction initiative that will be carried out across multiple years.

The foundation already has received a $10 million challenge gift from the Sunderland Foundation of Overland Park plus $2 million from Mission Hills resident Hugh Libby.

Planned projects include new buildings for career/technical education and the fine arts, as well renovations elsewhere on campus.

Will Shields to host soccer clinic

Former Kansas City Chiefs player Will Shields will sponsor a soccer clinic for kids ages 7 to 13 on Feb. 19, when many children are home from school for Presidents Day.

The clinic — from 9 a.m. to noon at 68’s Inside Sports, 11301 W. 88th St. in Overland Park — will benefits Safehome, a Johnson County organization that serves victims of domestic violence.

The $60 cost includes a T-shirt. To register, visit and click on Camps.

Compiled by Elaine Adams, Special to The Star