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Fairway police chief ending long career

The 29-acre Olathe Memorial Cemetery, at 738 N. Chestnut St., dates to 1865.
The 29-acre Olathe Memorial Cemetery, at 738 N. Chestnut St., dates to 1865. Photo provided

Fairway Police Chief Mike Fleming has announced his retirement after a career with the city that began near nearly 30 years ago. He will be on vacation until his official retirement date of July 1.

Meanwhile, the city has hired David Brown, a retired Lenexa police major, to be interim chief until a permanent replacement is found.

After working nearly five years in Roeland Park, Fleming joined the Fairway department in 1989 as a police officer. He was promoted to sergeant in 2001, then to lieutenant and deputy chief in 2003. He was named to the top post in May 2011. He is a graduate of Bishop Miege High School.

The public is invited to a reception for Fleming from 4 to 7 p.m. June 29 at Fairway City Hall, 5240 Belinder Road.

Westwood approves sales tax hike

The mail-in ballots have been counted, and 81 percent of Westwood voters said yes to a half-cent sales tax to fund all kinds of infrastructure projects.

The unofficial tally shows 354 yes votes to 81 nays for the tax, which will take effect Oct. 1 and expire after 10 years.

Among other things, the money will support upgrades to streets, sidewalks, drainage and street lighting, as well as new curbs and gutters.

Gifts and grants will fund new Roeland Park sculpture

The city of Roeland Park is seeking donations to help pay for a new Jorge Blanco sculpture to be installed in R Park in the spring of 2019.

The city said Blanco’s playful figure of the Runner symbolizes the forward movement of Roeland Park. Three Rs on the rings represent Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic -- a tribute to teachers and students everywhere and a nod to Roeland Park Elementary school, which formerly occupied the 5.4-acre site at 5535 Juniper Drive.

The figure will be 5 feet 6 inches tall on two 8-foot posts. The sculpture will be made of heavy aluminum with a durable paint finish that can withstand temperature extremes.

The work of Blanco, a Venezuelan-born American citizen based in Florida, can be seen in more than 30 cities worldwide, including Leawood. The artist will visit Roeland Park this summer to consult on the ideal spot for the sculpture in R Park.

The $56,000 sculpture, the first of seven public art focal points designated in the R Park Master Plan, is to be funded by grants and contributions -- not tax money.

Tax-deductible donations can be made payable to “Roeland Park Community Foundation,” with the memo “R Park Sculpture” on the check. Checks should be mailed to Roeland Park City Hall, 4600 W. 51st St., Roeland Park, KS 66205. Credit card donations can be made in person at City Hall.

Donors will be invited to an artist reception at the time of installation. Their names will be listed on two websites, and, and printed in a “Roeland Parker” newsletter. Those contributing $200 or more will receive a Running Man lapel pin while supplies last.

Blue Valley teacher chosen for national Hall of Fame

Jeff Baxter, an English language arts teacher at Blue Valley West High School, has been chosen for the 2018 National Teachers Hall of Fame.

The Emporia-based organization inducts only five teachers into the Hall of Fame each year.

Baxter, a teacher since 1971, was the 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year. He has spent time in Peru working with teachers and students through the National Education Association Foundation.

At a surprise assembly announcing his selection, Baxter offered this advice to students as they continue their education and live their lives:

“I just want to encourage you, as I’ve done with my students, find your ‘why.’ And when you find your why, you’ll follow it passionately, and when you follow something passionately, you’ll always do your best work.”

Does your family own an old Olathe cemetery lot?

Olathe Memorial Cemetery is trying to notify owners or heirs of cemetery lots purchased long ago that have had no burial activity in at least 50 years.

If the lots go unclaimed, the cemetery plans to take ownership of them as allowed under Kansas law. To learn if you or a loved one has purchased a dormant lot, visit

Through this resale process, known as revestment, the city may be able to increase its inventory of available lots.

The cemetery now has more than 900 full-size spaces available, which are likely to be used up in 22 years. The resale effort could extend that period by 50 years.

Merriam working with library on community center plan

The city of Merriam and the Johnson County Library are refining ideas for placing both the Antioch library branch and the city’s new community center in Vavra Park.

The park, at 6114 Slater St., is adjacent to the city’s aquatic center.

Residents are encouraged to email comments and design ideas to The city has canceled a May 9 open house to brief residents on the project. The meeting will be rescheduled when the planning is further along.

Lenexa Art Fair is May 12

More than 40 regional artists will be represented at the fifth annual Lenexa Art Fair, a juried show and sale scheduled from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 12.

Mediums include glass, printmaking, jewelry, photography, acrylic, mixed media, wood, metal, fiber, pastel, oil and ceramics.

The fair will take place on the new Lenexa civic campus at 17101 W. 87th St. Parkway, where visitors can enjoy live jazz, a children’s art tent, a sidewalk chalk art contest and food trucks. Local wineries and breweries will be featured in an evening tasting event.

Turkey Creek fest May 19 in Merriam

A day of family-friendly activities is on tap May 19 as the city of Merriam presents the 33rd annual Turkey Creek Festival at Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch Road.

Most activities are free during the festival, which ends at 4 p.m. Among the highlights and related events:

▪ Pancake breakfast ,7:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Shelter #1. The cost $6 for adults, and $4 for children 12 and under.

▪ 5K Run/Walk & Youth Sprint, 8 to 10 a.m. at the Irene B. French Community Center. Register online by May 16 at (search for Merriam), call 913-322-5550 or sign up in person at the community center, 5701 Merriam Drive.

▪ Free concerts: Phillip Michaels Band at 11 a.m. and Julie Major Trio at 2 p.m.

▪ Artisans expo and free Kid Zone attractions include pony rides, a petting zoo, parakeets, inflatables, wood projects, interactive rhythm and music with Johnny & Adam, DJ the Balloon Man and 501st and Rebel Legions Star Wars Characters. Pedal boat rides cost $5 per boat.

Visitors are asked to park at Lee Apparel, 9001 W. 67th St., and take a free shuttle that comes by every 10 minutes.

Hazardous waste drop-off May 12

Residents from across Johnson County can dispose of old paint cans, gas and oil, chemicals, pesticides and other household hazardous waste at Olathe’s drop-off location, which is open the second Saturday of each month.

The next free event will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 12 at 1420 S. Robinson Drive. No appointment is necessary, but people should bring a photo ID and label items not in their original containers. Get details at

Roeland Park garage sale

Roeland Park has scheduled its citywide garage sale for May 17-20.

Permits will not be required for homeowners who hold a garage sale on those dates.

Free session on retirement living

Sean Roark, the marketing for Village Shalom, and will facilitate a free program on May 17 about choosing the right senior living option for yourself or a loved one.

The session, which is open to the public, will be from 1 to 2 p.m. in the MAC Room of the Jewish Community Campus, 5801 W. 115th St. in Overland Park.

Participants will learn about the pros and cons of the different arrangements, contractual issues and how to plan and pay for it all. Handouts will be provided.

Reservations are requested by calling the Heritage Center at 913-327-8044.