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Sunderland Foundation adds gift to MidAmerica Nazarene University

This rendering, by PGAV Architects, shows what the proposed Cunningham Student Center will look like at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe.
This rendering, by PGAV Architects, shows what the proposed Cunningham Student Center will look like at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe. Courtesy rendering

Funding boost for MidAmerica Nazarene student center

The Sunderland Foundation has added $2.4 million to an earlier gift to MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, bringing to $3 million its support of the new Cunningham Student Center and the university’s Bright Futures campaign.

“The Foundation’s support is a tremendous inspiration as we gain momentum toward our goal of completing fund-raising for the Cunningham Student Center by the end of this year,” said David Spittal, president of the university.

MidAmerica Nazarene has received about $12 million in gifts and pledges for the student center. If it can raise the remaining $8 million by the end of the year, the Mabee Foundation will provide $1 million through a challenge grant.

The Sunderland Foundation has supported two previous capital projects at the university: the Cook Center athletic and academic facility (1996-1997) and the Bell Cultural Events Center (2005-2006).

Leawood welcomes sculpture to Tomahawk Creek Parkway

With the addition of a walking woman created by southern California artist Michael Stutz, the city of Leawood now has 21 3-dimensional works in its public art collection.

The sculpture, which was dedicated May 13, was installed on Tomahawk Creek Parkway across the street from the south end of the Justice Center.

The sculpture was commissioned as part of the Leawood Arts Council’s Art in Public Places Initiative. With three limestone base elements, the sculpture suggests that the woman, with her hair flowing behind, is striding confidently into the future.

“It relates to activity on our greenway trail system and the goal of healthy lifestyles in Leawood,” the city said in a news release.

Learn about Lenexa trail coming in 2020

Lenexa wants to start construction next year on a 10-foot wide multipurpose trail along Lackman Road from Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park to 95th Street and along 95th Street from Lackman to Loiret Boulevard, filling in a missing segment in the city’s trail system.

With the design phase underway, the city has scheduled an open house on May 29 to brief residents on the project and answer questions. It runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at City Hall, 17101 W. 87th St. Parkway.

Jedel awards math teachers

The Jedel Family Foundation has announced the 16 recipients of this year’s Jedel Excellence in Mathematics Education Awards, given to innovative, dedicated math teachers in the Kansas City area.

Each recipient receives a monetary award, a trophy and an invitation to join the Jedel Excellence in Mathematics Fellowship of Mathematics Educators next year. Winners from the Kansas side of the area:

▪ $10,000 Integral Award: Laura Deffer of Blue Valley Northwest High School.

▪ $5,000 Exponential Award: Will Dunn of Tonganoxie High School.

▪ $1,000 Prime Award: Sarah Collins of Briarwood Elementary in the Shawnee Mission district; Sara Gehrt of Clear Creek Elementary in the De Soto district; Brandon Hawks of Blue Valley Southwest High School; Vincent LaVergne of Shawnee Mission South High School, Terry Link of Olathe North High School, Samantha Newlin of Blue Valley High School and Wraye Royle of Trailridge Middle School in the Shawnee Mission district.

The awards were established by the Jedel Family Foundation in 2018 in collaboration with the KU Center for STEM Learning. Applicants were required to submit essays discussing their knowledge and application of a variety of teaching practices used to strengthen students’ understanding of mathematics. The finalists were observed in their classrooms before the winners were chosen.

Breastfeeding coalition

The Johnson County Breastfeeding Coalition, formed in January, discuss and find ways to remove barriers to breastfeeding, reached a milestone this spring.

The coalition recruited more businesses to display the “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” window sticker, bringing the total number in Johnson County to 31. That met the final requirement for attaining the Community Supporting Breastfeeding designation from the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just under 84 percent Kansas mothers initiate breastfeeding, but only 50 percent of moms are breastfeeding when the baby is 6 months old. Coalition members found that lack of support from medical providers, workplaces and other systems often prevents mothers from continuing the practice.

The coalition meets from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday at the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, 6000 Lamar Ave. in Mission. Other interested people are welcome to join. Contact for more information.

Merriam joins Neighbors by Ring app

Merriam has signed on to the Neighbors by Ring app, joining other cities in the area to provide timely alerts to crime and safety.

Ring is known for making video doorbells. The app, which does not require the user to have a Ring doorbell, lets people view and share videos of of suspicious neighborhood activity. The free app also allows users to upload crime videos to the police department.

The app can be downloaded on iPhones or Android devices. Smartphone owners also can text “StaySafe” to 555888.

Arrowhead Day School holds first graduation

In August 2017, the Shawnee Mission School District opened Arrowhead Day School to serve students with emotional disabilities that required intensive services beyond what their school or a center-based program could provide.

This month, the school held its first graduation ceremony for four graduates — who also were encouraged to walk with their classmates at their home school commencements.

Arrowhead serves students in kindergarten through grade 12.

Women Voters League honors five

The League of Women Voters of Johnson County has presented its 2019 Making Democracy Work Awards.

The first award honored Roeland Park Mayor Mike Kelly and Shawnee City Councilwoman Lindsey Constance for their leadership in creating the Metro KC Climate Change Coalition.

Also honored were Rosehill Elementary School teachers Meghan Spalding, Lauren Langhofer and Rachel Serna for creating a curriculum to foster civic engagement in their third-grade students.

Park named for German sister city

Overland Park has named a new city park in honor of the city’s ties to Germany.

The park, at 159th Street and Quivira Road, will be called Bietigheim-Bissingen, in honor of Overland Park’s sister city of that name.

The naming coincides with the 20th anniversary of the sister city relationship, the city said, as well as the 40th anniversary of a German/American band exchange program involving Shawnee Mission South High School.