Olathe & Southwest Joco

Walmart, community offer ‘cool’ help to homebound couple

Evan Spalding installed this new window air-conditioner for a Gardner couple. Walmart donated the unit to the couple, who otherwise couldn’t afford to replace it.
Evan Spalding installed this new window air-conditioner for a Gardner couple. Walmart donated the unit to the couple, who otherwise couldn’t afford to replace it. Courtesy photo

It’s all cool now, thanks to local generosity

Gardner Mayor Steve Shute is collaborating with community leaders to form the Gardner Samaritan Project, an initiative he outlined in his State of the City address last May to assist people in need.

But after a local couple’s air-conditioner quit working as temperatures climbed, city officials tackled the problem in a way that served as a prototype for the larger initiative — which will connect those in need with volunteers and organizations in a position to help.

After the couple contacted the city because they couldn’t afford to replace their broken window unit, the city turned to the local Walmart Supercenter, where manager Albert Stutzman and claims manager Denise Hastings were willing to help.

“Knowing that the temperatures were hitting above 90, there is only so much closing the shades and running a fan can do,” Stutzman said in a city Facebook posting. “Those who are homebound can’t escape the heat and need air conditioning. We were glad to be able to help.”

Then local contractor Evan Spalding, whose wife Ilena Spalding works for the Gardner Police Department, donated his time and supplies to install the unit on Aug. 13. The grateful couple invited him to be photographed next to their new air-conditioner.

Wanted: Used musical instruments

Olathe School District students from the fifth grade on up can enroll in band or orchestra, but not all can afford to buy or rent a musical instrument.

That’s why the district is seeking donations of used instruments — or cash — to allow the students to play in their school orchestra or band. Instruments of greatest need are clarinets, flutes, trombones, trumpets, violas and violins. The cash donated to Dr. B’s Musical Instrument Fund can be used to repair donated instruments or buy new ones.

Anyone interested in donating an instrument should contact Fine Arts Coordinator Martha Gabel at 913-780-8230 or mgabelirc@olatheschools.org. The donations are tax-deductible.

Cash donations can be made online at olathepublicschoolsfoundation.org.

Gardner marks expansion of senior living facility

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids spoke about the importance of affordable housing for older adults on Aug. 20 during a ribbon cutting for a new addition to Bethel Estates of Gardner.

Wheatland Investment Group built the first phase of Bethel Estates in 1999 to provide ground-level apartments for seniors. With the completion of the new fourth phase, the facility at 352 N. Oak St. is now three times larger than the original development.

The ceremony was hosted by the city of Gardner and Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce.

Storm debris drop-off in Edgerton

Recent storms have prompted the city of Edgerton to open a brush drop-off site on Aug. 24 at the Public Works Department, 710 W. Nelson St. Residents can dispose of tree limbs and brush for free between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Dogs have their day to swim

Once this summer’s swimming season ends, the city of Olathe invites people to bring their dogs and favorite toys for a swim from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 3 at Black Bob Bay, 14570 W. 151st St.

The cost is $10 per dog. Dogs weighing 25 pounds or less will start swimming at 6 p.m., and larger dogs can jump in at 7. Register at olatheks.org, under the Too Cool to Drool calendar event for Sept. 3.

A virtual City Hall at OlatheConnect

The city of Olathe is promoting its online OlatheConnect service, where residents can contact city officials around the clock with requests about potholes, missed trash pickups, city regulations and other matters.

Smart phone users can download the OlatheConnect app, and the service also is available under the Services tab at olatheks.org. The city says that at least 95 percent of requests are answered within two business days.