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County Manager's Office

Phone: 913-715-0725

111 S. Cherry St., Suite 3300, Olathe, KS 66061

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county manager's office

The County Manager's Office is responsible to the Board of County Commissioners and the residents of Johnson County for the effective and efficient delivery of programs and services, using sound management and financial principles while emphasizing high ethical values, innovation, and continuous improvement.

Department News

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DHE urges precautions during extreme heat
July 10, 2017

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, in cooperation with the Johnson County Library, encourages residents to take precautions during this week’s extreme heat. Those who need a place to cool down may visit one of Johnson County’s 13 library branches during normal business hours.

JCDHE recommends the following to stay safe in the heat:

  • Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Check with your doctor if you have restrictions related to fluid intake.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go somewhere cool — even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
  • Avoid leaving children and/or pets alone inside vehicles even for a few minutes since the temperature inside vehicles can rise rapidly once the air conditioning is off.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when temperatures are in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • If you must be out in the heat, limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Exercise in an air-conditioned place and drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
  • If you have to be outside, try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some are at greater risk than others. Be sure to check regularly on:

  • People aged 65 or older.
  • People taking certain medications, including narcotics, sedatives and diuretics.
  • Athletes who are not used to working out in warm environments.
  • People who work outside.
  • People who have a mental illness or are physically ill, especially with heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.

For residents needing a cool location, check library hours which vary by location. Call 913-826-4600 for hours of operation for your nearest library branch, or visit the website at jocolibrary.org/locations.

Johnson County to celebrate opening of new park
July 5, 2017

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 8, will celebrate the official public opening of Lexington Lake Park, 8850 Sunflower Road, in De Soto and north of K-10 Highway.

The new park is owned and operated by the Johnson County Park & Recreation District (JCPRD). Previously known as Rieke Lake, the 465-acre inverted L-shaped property features a 27-acre lake, which was previously a private fishing lake originally constructed in the 1950s.

“The lake will provide a new outstanding fishing opportunity,” Matt Garrett, field biologist for JCPRD, said. “We surveyed it and it’s a high-quality fishery. It’ll be a great crappie fishing lake, and also has largemouth bass.”

Phase I development of the park got under way in August 2016 and includes a boat ramp and courtesy dock to provide access to the lake. Other Phase I amenities include a 1.5-mile paved trail around the lake, a playground, restroom and picnic shelter.

One of the park’s unique natural features is a virgin prairie officials believe has never been plowed on the lake’s west side. The area, which encompasses about nine acres, has been surveyed and 120 prairie species, including the federally-threatened Mead’s milkweed, were found at the site. 

In addition to the native prairie, JCPRD has converted an additional 60 acres to tallgrass prairie with plans to expand that acreage in the future.

While visitors will enter the park through a grassy area, more than 300 acres are covered in oak and hickory forest towards the northern side of the property. This area slopes downward toward the Kansas River, which is about a half mile northeast of the park.

“There are remnants of old structures in there and there’s a fairly lengthy section of an old stone wall that was built probably at least 100 years ago,” JCPRD Project Manager Bill Leek said. “There are some remnants of other stone structures back in there.”

To get to Lexington Lake Park, take K-10 west from I-435 towards Lawrence. Exit at Lexington Avenue in De Soto and turn right going south under K-10 to 95th Street. Turn right (west) onto 95th and go approximately one mile to the Sunflower Road intersection. Turn right (north) onto Sunflower Road and go approximately half a mile, passing back under K-10 to the park entrance.

Know when and where to celebrate with fireworks
June 30, 2017

Families across Johnson County will celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with picnics, gatherings of family members and friends, outings to lake beaches and parks, neighborhood barbecues, and of course, fireworks.

In the State of Kansas, consumer (Class C) fireworks are legal with the exception of bottle rockets, which are banned throughout the state.  In support of the statewide ban, no cities or communities in Johnson County allow the use of bottle rockets.

The state authorizes local jurisdictions to enact and enforce their own fireworks ordinances.

According to Johnson County regulations, fireworks, including sparklers, are illegal without a permit in all unincorporated (rural) areas of the county. If you live within city limits, please check with your city to find out if fireworks are permitted there. 

Johnson County Sheriff’s Office deputies will patrol all unincorporated areas of the county over the holiday weekend; people caught illegally using or selling fireworks will be subject to fines. The Sheriff’s Office also provides law enforcement services for the cities of De Soto and Edgerton.

Local police departments enforce fireworks regulations within their cities during the holiday period.

Shawnee Mission Park features campout and Camp Rock
June 28, 2017

The 10th annual Great American Family Campout is occurring this weekend, allowing participants the opportunity to sleep under the stars in Shawnee Mission Park and to take part in other outdoor activities.

Activities will include attending the musical, Disney’s Camp Rock, the third production of The Theatre in the Park. The show opens  Friday, June 30, and continues Saturday and Sunday, July 1 and 2, as well as the following Wednesday, July 5 through Saturday, July 8. The box office opens at 6 p.m. and the gates to the seating bowl open at 6:30 p.m.; the show begins at 8:30 p.m. General admission is $8, youth $6, and children three and under may attend for free (but require a ticket for entrance).

Sponsored by the Children’s Services Department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District, the Great American Family Campout begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 1, and lasts until about 10 a.m. Sunday, July 2. The local event ties into a national event called the Great American Backyard Campout, which encourages people to camp out in their backyards each summer.

Children’s Services staff will be on hand throughout the night. The JCPRD Park Police will also have a presence to ensure the safety of overnight campers.

The cost is $30 for a family of up to four, $10 for individuals, and children under the age of three are free. The package includes passes for one pedal boat rental and tickets to Camp Rock.  Campout participants will also receive early admittance to the show. Note: The beach at Shawnee Mission Park is closed this summer during construction of a new beach house expected to open in 2018.

Camping will take place in a large open field directly to the south of The Theatre in the Park complex and north of Shelter 2 in the Small Lakes Area. Campers will need to bring their own camping equipment including tents, sleeping bags, etc.  Saturday evening dinner is not provided.  Community grills are available at Shelter #2.  Bagels, fruit, juice and milk will be provided Sunday morning.

The Theatre in the Park entrance is located at 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee and Lenexa.

For more information, call 913-826-3023. To register, call 913-831-3359 or online at www.jcprd.com.

County employee receives 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award
June 27, 2017

Gerald Hay, staff member in the Public Information Office with Johnson County Government, has received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kansas City Press Club, the local chapter of the National Society of Professional Journalists for eastern Kansas and western Missouri. The chapter, with membership including print, TV and radio journalists/writers, is marking its 70th anniversary. The award was made this past Saturday during the annual Heart of America Awards luncheon. 

In addition, Hay received eight writing awards, including two gold, four silver, one bronze and one honorable mention.  

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes “outstanding abilities, talent and commitment to the profession.” Past recipients include Walt Bodine, Steve Rose, longtime TV newscaster Larry Moore, Joe McGuff (former sports editor and editor) and Darryl Levings (former national editor), both from the KC Star, Tim Carpenter (veteran Topeka Capital-Journal reporter) and longtime radio newsman Dan Verbeck (KCUR). 

Hay joined the staff at the Office of the Board of County Commissioners/County Manager’s Office in January 2004 after a journalism career spanning almost 30 years, including 24 years as reporter/news editor/senior writer at The Olathe News. He also worked for The Hutchinson News, Leavenworth Times and Sun Publications. 

Gerald Hay is pictured on the right, along with Corbin Crable, president of the KC Press Club and adjunct associate professor in journalism at JCCC and advisor to The Campus Ledger, the college newspaper.

Watch out for ticks this weekend
June 23, 2017

Summer is officially here, and you may find yourself outdoors on the prairie this weekend.

Before you head to your favorite county park, Johnson County Government reminds residents to be mindful of exposure to ticks and other disease-carrying insects.
Ticks can be difficult to detect because the insects develop in four stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. The American Dog tick, the Lone Star tick and the Brown Dog tick are the most common tick species in Johnson County.
Ticks typically feed on native wildlife or domestic livestock to meet their need for a blood host. Once they have fed, they drop to the ground and molt into their next stage. Ticks repeat the process three times as they move from the larva to the nymph to the adult stage. Blood hosts are typically a mouse, small rodent, a bird or a deer.
Ticks do not jump or drop from trees. Ticks crawl onto blades of grass, weeds or low bushes and wait for a host to brush against the vegetation. The tick immediately releases from the vegetation and crawls onto the host.
Tick prevention
The Department of Health and Environment suggests the following ways to avoid exposure to ticks.

  • Avoid direct contact with tick by avoiding wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of trails.
  • Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes and mouth.
  • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.
  • If you are concerned about ticks, be sure to inspect your body and scalp in search of moving insects before they have a chance to latch on. If an attached tick is discovered, immediately remove it using tweezers. Do not try unsound methods like finger nail polish or a lit match. This could cause the tick to expel disease-carrying fluids into the skin.

 Watch this brief YouTube video on tick exposure and prevention.