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The REACH Healthcare Foundation will relocate its headquarters in 2020

Taking the oath of office last week were four county commissioners elected or re-elected in November: (from left) Michael Ashcraft, newcomers Janeé Hanzlick and Becky Fast, and Commission Chairman Ed Eilert.
Taking the oath of office last week were four county commissioners elected or re-elected in November: (from left) Michael Ashcraft, newcomers Janeé Hanzlick and Becky Fast, and Commission Chairman Ed Eilert. Courtesy photo

Two tenants announced for Avenue 82

The REACH Healthcare Foundation will relocate its headquarters in 2020 to the Avenue 82 property that will be built at 82nd Street and Metcalf Avenue in downtown Overland Park.

Also moving there is BRR Architecture, an architectural design firm that currently shares an address with the REACH Foundation at 6700 Antioch Road in Merriam. Both entities are investing in the Avenue 82 property, which will be managed by EPC Real Estate Group.

The foundation’s space will have offices for up to eight staff members and include a community room that can accommodate up to 100 people.

“The opportunity to co-invest in the Avenue 82 property emerged at the right time as the REACH Foundation began exploring a more permanent location for the organization,” said Vicki Hohenstein, who leads the foundation board. She said the location is “both publicly accessible and offers space that can support community dialogue and improvement.”

The REACH Foundation’s mission is to advance equity in health care coverage, access and quality in its six-county service area. Each year, it awards about $4.5 million in grants to nonprofit organizations.

New commissioners sworn in

Two new members of the Johnson County Commission took the oath of office on Jan. 14, along with two incumbents who won re-election in November.

The new members are former Roeland Park City Council member Becky Fast, representing the 1st District, and Janeé Hanzlick, the former CEO of the SAFEHOME domestic violence agency in Johnson County. She represents the 4th District.

Re-elected to the seven-member commission in November were Chairman Ed Eilert and 5th District commissioner Michael Ashcraft.

County has its first chief medical examiner

As of this month, forensic pathologist Diane C. Peterson has assumed the roles of Johnson County coroner and the county’s first chief medical examiner.

“The attraction to the job and Johnson County was the opportunity to be directly involved in a historical event — changing the coroner system to a medical examiner system. Not many currently working forensic pathologists can say that they have been involved in building an ME system from scratch,” Peterson said in a news release.

The county said that Kansas law requires boards of county commissioners to appoint a county coroner, so Peterson is performing both duties now that former coroner Robert Prosser’s appointment has expired.

Back in October, the county commission approved Peterson’s appointment as deputy county coroner, with the idea that she would assume the two new roles in January.

The county recently broke ground on a medical examiner facility, which is expected to open in 2020 on the Johnson County Government campus at 119th Street and Ridgeview Road in Olathe.

Roeland Park reschedules forum on pool

Roeland Park has rescheduled the Jan. 15 community forum about a consultant’s recommendation for the city’s aquatic center.

The forum will now be at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood Drive.

The consultant, Waters Edge Aquatic Design, found that operating the pool only in the summer — rather than year round as the city did before a protective dome was damaged bond repair — made the most financial sense. It outlined the costs and benefits of three levels of capital investment in the aquatic center.

Blue Valley enrolling soon for Chinese immersion

The Blue Valley School District has scheduled two meetings next month to introduce families to its Chinese language immersion program, which is open to all incoming kindergartners next fall.

In the Blue Valley immersion program, students spend half their day being taught in Chinese and the other half in English. The program begins in kindergarten and participating families are asked to make a multi-year commitment to immersion education.

Applications will open Feb. 13 for school year that begins in the fall, and two informational meetings are scheduled before then:

▪ Feb. 11: 6:45 p.m. in the Wolf Springs Elementary gym, 9300 W. 178th St. in Overland Park.

▪ Feb. 12: 7 p.m. at Valley Park Elementary School, 12301 Lamar Ave. in Overland Park.

Lenexa Citizens’ Fire Academy

Applications will open at 10 a.m. Feb. 1 for Lenexa’s popular Citizens’ Fire Academy, which gives participants an inside look at now the fire department operates and provides an opportunity to try out some firefighting skills.

The academy will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays from April 4 through May 9. Participants must be at least 18 years old and have no significant criminal record.

For more information, call Deputy Fire Chief Travis Vaughn at 913-477-7905.

Park Place ice rink accepting pantry donations

Until the rink closes in mid-February, visitors to The Ice at Park Place can donate items for the two Jewish Family Services food pantries. Skaters who bring canned goods, personal care items or non-perishables will receive $1 off their admission to the outdoor rink.

Items can be dropped off in the JFS barrel at The Ice, and donors should ask the attendant for the discount. Park Place is at 117th and Ash streets in Leawood, just east of Nall Avenue.

Lenexa jewelry show

Lenexa will host the Cupid’s Gems Artisan Jewelry Show, a juried event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 2 in the historic Thompson Barn event space at 11184 Lackman Road.

More than 30 artists will be represented, with jewelry handmade from beads, glass, metals, semi-precious stones, gourds, wire wrapping, repurposed vintage items and other materials.

Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery will hold a wine tasting from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parking and admission are free.

Free class focuses on teen driving risks

Parents and their younger teenagers are invited to a free workshop early next month aimed at reducing the risk of car accidents among new drivers. Experts say that a teenager’s lifetime risk of an accident is highest in the first 12 to 24 months behind the wheel.

“Driving Risk Awareness for Teens and Parents,” presented by the Jewish Family Services, is open to ninth and 10th grade students and their parents. It will run from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 3 at the Jewish Community Campus, 5801 W. 115th St. in Overland Park.

Facilitators will be Susie Hurst, adolescent specialist at Jewish Family Services, and retired Police Capt. Mark Terman.

Reservations are required. Make them by contacting Hurst at 913-327-8259 or