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Mail-in election begins May 1 in Shawnee

The 21st annual spring plant sale takes place this weekend at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.
The 21st annual spring plant sale takes place this weekend at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. Courtesy photo

Mail-in election underway in Shawnee

The mailing of ballots begins May 1 so Shawnee voters can consider a proposed $38 million bond issue that would finance a community center at 61st Street and Woodland Drive.

Completed ballots must be returned by noon on May 21.

Merriam picks new council member

Jason Silvers has been appointed from among three applicants to replace Robert Weems on the Merriam City Council. Weems resigned because he was moving out of the city.

Silvers, an advertising/marketing professional, said he’s been impressed with city operations and wants to keep the city on its current trajectory but with an increased focus on property code violations and upkeep of rental property.

Free choral concert May 5

“Celebrating America,” a free concert by the Johnson County Chorus and Choraliers, will be presented at 3 p.m. May 5 in Yardley Hall of the Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College.

Directed by Sheri Cook-Cunningham and accompanied by Evangelos Spanos, the singers will perform traditional standards, including “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and showcase songs by American composers.

Girl Scouts go high-tech at Olathe firm

NIC Inc. of Olathe hosted 45 Girl Scouts last month at its fifth annual Girl Scouts Spark event, where they learned something about how computer codes make Amazon’s Alexa so smart.

The girls came from troops from across the Kansas City area, including Johnson, Jackson and Cass counties.

The company said it taught the Girl Scouts “how to work in a coding environment for voice-activated Amazon Alexa skills, and learn what it takes to build their own Alexa skill.” They also took a virtual reality tour of the Kansas Capitol and experienced NIC’s Innovation Lab.

The regional Girl Scout organization collaborates with businesses like NIC – which helps government agencies nationwide do business digitally – to host Spark events that create awareness of career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.

Spring plant sale at OP arboretum

The 21st annual spring plant sale takes place this weekend at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, offering shoppers a way to support the attraction.

The sale will take place under a big-top tent from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 3, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 4 and and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 5.

Merchandise includes native plants and those that attract butterflies, as well as colorful annuals and others. Knowledgeable gardeners will be there to offer advice.

The arboretum is a half-mile west of U.S. 69 on 179th Street.

Filing deadline approaches for fall elections

People interested in running for school boards, city councils and other local offices have about a month to jump in.

The filing deadline is noon June 3 for races that will be decided in November.

SM Park marina now open on weekends

The Shawnee Mission Park marina is scheduled to operate on the weekends of May 4-5, May 11-12 and May 18-19, before opening daily for the summer starting May 25.

Weekend hours will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but the last boat rentals will be at 6 p.m. Rentals include canoes, pedal boats, kayaks and paddleboards.

The park, at 7900 Renner Road, straddles Shawnee and Lenexa.

The Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s other marina operation, at Kill Creek Park, also opens for the summer on May 25. That park is at 11670 Homestead Lane in Olathe.

More bike lanes coming to Overland Park

Overland Park is set to install nearly 70 more miles of new bike lane street markings in the southern part of the city.

The City Council recently agreed to pay just under $350,000 for the work, with 80 percent covered by federal money.

In 2018, the city marked nearly 30 miles of bike lanes near downtown. This year, the new lanes will be marked south of Interstate 435.

Student wins prize in race relations

Hananeel Morinville, a sophomore at Shawnee Mission North High School, has won the 2019 Princeton Prize in Race Relations for the Greater Kansas City Area.

Morinville was recognized for her work in establishing the Black Student Union at Shawnee Mission North and leadership within the school’s Harmony Club.

“Her tireless efforts led to a greater sense of camaraderie and belonging, which extended throughout the entire school,” said Debbie Scott Williams, co-chair of the Greater Kansas City Committee of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations.

Olivia Henry, a junior at Shawnee Mission East High School, earned a Certificate of Accomplishment for her work on various initiatives including Race Project KC.

R&D Forum highlights student projects

If you wonder what students are doing in school these days, consider visiting the Shawnee Mission School District’s annual R&D Forum between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on May 4.

The event gives students a chance to share the work they have done in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and math. It’s at Shawnee Mission West High School, 8800 W. 85th St. in Overland Park.

OP Orchestra to perform

The Overland Park Orchestra, directed by Shah Sadikov, will present its free spring concert at 3 p.m. May 5 at Knox Presbyterian Church, 9595 W. 95th St.

The program features a Kansas City premiere of Cassini Overture by Timothy Michael Rolls of Fort Hays State University, along with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

Rolls’s works have been performed nationally and internationally, including a recent event in Helsinki, Finland. His areas of interest include computer-assisted composition, electro-acoustic music and solo chamber works.

The concert is sponsored by the city of Overland Park.

Street fair in downtown Shawnee

Shawnee promises fun for the whole family, with free food and giveaways, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 4 at the “Shawnee and Downtown Open House” centered at Johnson Drive and Nieman Road.

Many businesses will have sales, and kids can explore city vehicles and enjoy balloon artists, a Moonwalk and face painting.

Johnson Drive will be shut down from Nieman Road to King Street from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the event.