Joco Diversions

Shawnee St. Patrick’s Day parade slated for March 11

A small green-dyed dog marched during the annual Shawnee St. Patrick’s Day Parade in this 2016 file photo. This year’s parade is March 11.
A small green-dyed dog marched during the annual Shawnee St. Patrick’s Day Parade in this 2016 file photo. This year’s parade is March 11. Special to The Star

The Irish American Club of Johnson County is organizing the 36th annual Shawnee St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which begins at 1 p.m. on March 11.

The parade will start on Johnson Drive at Monrovia Street and head east on Johnson Drive to Nieman Road. This year’s theme is “Follow the Green Irish Road.”

Anyone who would like to participate should complete the parade entry form at the Irish American Club of Johnson County’s Facebook page. Bring the completed form and $10 cash to the parade lineup which starts at 11:30 a.m.

Two events are scheduled after the parade:

▪ The Heroes Pull, 2:30 p.m. in the Splash Cove parking lot at 5800 King St. It’s a tug-of-war exercise to benefit Special Olympics. More at

▪ The 30th annual Shawnee Duck Race: 4:30 p.m. at Herman Laird Park, 11500 Johnson Drive. Kids can buy a duck for $5 and have a chance for prizes. Details are at the Shawnee Duck Race Facebook page.

Coming in July: transit from south KC to Edgerton

Johnson County has been awarded $168,000 for a new transit route to help bring employees from southern Kansas City to warehouse/logistics jobs in southwest Johnson County. The service starts in July.

The Kansas Department of Transportation grant, along with a $42,000 match from Johnson County, will provide commuter service from the new Three Trails Transit Center, at Blue Ridge Boulevard and Banister Road in south Kansas City. Three morning and three afternoon trips are planned.

That route will connect with a new reverse-commute route from downtown Kansas City to the Logistics Park Kansas City, or LPKC, in Edgerton.

The reverse-commute service, approved last month by Johnson County commissioners, is slated to begin in April. It provides trips from Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., to LPKC and the BNSF intermodal facility in Edgerton as well as New Century AirCenter.

“These funds support our ongoing work to connect people to jobs in southwest Johnson County and create a more effective transit system for the region,” Johnson County Commission Chair Ed Eilert said. “The state’s grant allows us to implement these changes sooner and more efficiently for our residents.”

The state’s funding was awarded from a commuter discretionary program that supports innovative solutions that break down transit barriers to jobs. The Johnson County project was selected for its jobs focus.

By enhancing the reverse-commute routes with a connection to the southern Kansas City, “we are able to both provide service to an area that we haven’t previously, as well as expand the ability of job seekers to get to the many employment opportunities in southwest Johnson County,” business liaison Josh Powers said.

Johnson County Government contracts with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to provide regional transit services.

Two town halls set on housing appraisals

With assessed home values expected to rise by up to 18 percent in northeast Johnson County and appraisal notices arriving in mailboxes, the Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce and the Shawnee Mission Post have scheduled two public information sessions with County Appraiser Paul Welcome.

The first meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. on March 7 at the Prairie Village Community Center, 7720 Mission Road. The second starts at 8 a.m. on March 12 at the Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood Drive.

The format will be the same for both town halls. The primary focus will be to inform residents about how the strong housing market has caused assessed values to rise again.

“This has the potential to impact the majority of residents in our 10 cities,” stated Deb Settle, president and CEO of the chamber.

Shawnee offers survey on city manager search

The Shawnee City Council wants to hear from the public as it searches for a new city manager to replace Carol Gonzales, who resigned late last year.

Residents are encouraged to complete an online survey found on the city’s website,

Olathe teacher honored

Erik Erazo, Olathe Public Schools facilitator of Hispanic student services, will receive the 2018 Most Inspiring Teacher award given by the Teacher Education Department of MidAmerica Nazarene University.

Erazo was nominated by a former student who attends MNU and hopes to become a teacher.

“Erik Erazo has the knowledge, passion and determination to make a positive impact on the lives of students, families and colleagues,” said Jan Heinen, the district’s director of instructional support programs. “He always goes above and beyond in his service to others.”

Nerf War has been declared

Spring Break Nerf Wars — the title says it all — will be fought next week in the city of Fairway.

With 900 square feet of floor padding and gymnastics mats with which to build forts, the city is providing an unusual activity for children who won’t be in school. The entry fee is $5 per session.

Kids can bring their own guns — subject to seizure if they’re deemed too powerful — or rent one for $5. The city will provide darts and safety glasses.

Here are the sessions by age group:

▪ Ages 5 to 9: 10 a.m. to noon, March 12 and March 14; 2 to 4 p.m., March 13 and March 15.

▪ Ages 10 to 13: 4 to 5:30 p.m., March 13 and March 15.

▪ Ages 14 to 18: 3:30 to 5 p.m., March 12 and March 14.

The sessions will be in the multi-purpose at City Hall, 5240 Belinder Road. Sign up at Pre-registration is encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome.

Merriam’s largest art show is under way

Merriam’s largest art show of the year, the 22nd annual Heartland Artist Exhibition, lasts until March 31 at the Tim Murphy Art Gallery, inside the Irene B. French Community Center.

The juried show, which opened March 3, features 69 artists from 13 states.

Legislative coffee at library

A legislative coffee is scheduled at 10 a.m. on March 10 at Blue Valley Library, 9000 W. 151st St. in Overland Park.

Those invited included state Sens. Molly Baumgardner and John Skubal, plus Reps. Jan Kessinger, Joy Koesten, Patty Markley and Abe Rafie.

Compiled by Elaine Adams, Special to The Star