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johnson county residents

We understand the importance of protecting our planet. Since Johnson County Government created its first sustainability committee in 2004, being mindful of our impact on the environment has become a priority in the construction and maintenance of County buildings. The United States Green Building Council has certified two of our buildings as LEED Platinum and five others as LEED Gold. We’ve expanded our fleet of alternative fuel and Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles and made strides towards ambitious waste goals. We also offer our residents many ways to make sustainability part of their lives through The Jo transit system, and recycling opportunities for Household Hazardous Waste, expired medications and unwanted electronics. Together we can make a difference!

Environmental News

Free Store reopening Tuesday May 26th

The Johnson County Free Store will be reopening on Tuesday May 26th with the following conditions:

  • One resident at a time in the Free Store
  • If there are multiple cars waiting, residents need to stay in their vehicles until the store is empty
  • 10 item maximum per resident
  • Residents need to only touch the items that they will be taking
  • Doors to the Free Store will remain open during business hours, depending on the weather 

More information can be found on the Free Store page

April Burn Bans in Effect

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reminds Kansans that March and April are a time when large areas of the state's Flint Hills rangeland are burned. These burns help preserve the tallgrass prairie by controlling invasive species. Smoke from the burns can influence the air quality of downwind areas. The use of smoke management techniques is vital to reduce impacts. For more information about the burning in the Flint Hills, the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan, the April burn restrictions, and the smoke modeling tool. Click here

Yard waste and bulky item collection changes due to COVID-19

Due to feedback from trash haulers and amid concerns surrounding COVID-19, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment is temporarily allowing trash haulers to make the decision not to pick up anything by hand that is outside of regular trash or recycle bins. Materials this may affect will include curbside yard waste collection, bulky item pickup and recycling that isn't in a curbside bin. Trash and recycling will still be collected as usual at this time. If you have questions about your service, please contact your trash collection company.

For any other information about this, email Brandon Hearn.

Potential Changes to Yard Waste and Bulky Item Collection Due to COVID-19

Due to feedback we have heard from trash haulers and amid concerns surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus Johnson County Department of Health and Environment is temporarily allowing trash haulers to make the decision not to pick up anything by hand that is outside your regular trash or recycle bins. Materials this will affect will include curbside yard waste collection, bulky item pickup, and recycling that isn't in your curbside bin. TRASH AND RECYCLING WILL STILL BE COLLECTED AS USUAL AT THIS TIME. If you have questions about your service, please contact your trash collection company.
1. Yard Waste- there are several ways that you can deal with your yard waste on site including starting a backyard compost bin, mulch mowing leaves, and leaving grass clippings on your lawn. If you can put off yard projects for a few weeks For more info on how you can handle your yard waste: www.jocogov.org/…/envir…/recycling/yard-waste-and-composting

2. Bulky item pickup- Large trash items can still be self-hauled to the Johnson County Landfill as of this post. Again, if you can hold off on large projects for a few weeks. Contact your trash collection company to see if they are still collecting bulky items.

3. Recycling- Keep your recyclables in the bin. If you have excess cardboard that won't fit in your bin, you can either save it for the next collection or drop them off at either the Overland Park Recycling Center located off of 119th St. and Hardy or the community drop off bins located in the Walmart parking lot off of 135th St and Blackbob.

If you have any questions post them on here, message us, call 913-715-6936 or email Brandon Hearn

 
 
Johnson County Household Hazardous Waste facility remains open, Free Store closed

The Johnson County, KS Household Hazardous Waste facility is still open and taking new appointments. 

If you do make an appointment please be aware of the following:

  • Residents are required to stay in their vehicles while dropping off waste. Johnson County staff will unload your vehicle
  • The Free Store will be closed until further notice. Paint can still be purchased but only one resident at a time can purchase paint, must abide by the other social distancing requirements, and follow the directions of staff.
  • Staff and residents are being instructed to observe the 6 foot social distance.
  • Staff always wears safety glasses and gloves as part of our operation plan.
  • Drop offs are conducted in the open air and not in confined spaces.
Report details noxious weeds in Johnson County

Johnson County has more than 15,300 acres of noxious weeds, according to Jim Hoge who has been Johnson County government’s “weed guy” since 2005.

He is the noxious weed director at the Johnson County Department of Public Works campus in west Olathe. His job is to administer and enforce the Kansas Noxious Weed Law by helping to eradicate or control noxious weeds in Johnson County.

That means Hoge knows noxious weeds, and more importantly, how to get rid of them on public or private land, including farms with large acreage and residential property with far more smaller plots.

“Noxious weeds can grow anywhere. People can get musk thistle and Johnsongrass in their lawn,” he said.

In his 2019 Annual Noxious Weed Eradication Progress Report, Hoge estimates Johnson County has approximately 15,333 acres of noxious weeds, a decrease of 2.5% from 2018. The infestations involve four of the 12 noxious weeds now identified by the state of Kansas. The state began identifying and eradicating certain prevalent noxious weeds under a law first enacted in 1937.

Musk thistle remains the main noxious weed in Johnson County, infesting an estimated 6,500 acres, followed by johnsongrass with almost 5,600 acres. The other two noxious weeds are sericea lespedeza, involving approximately 3,000-plus acres, and field bindweed with only about 200 acres.

Noxious weeds are found on public-owned land, such as right-of-ways of roadways and state, county and city parks. The vast majority of the infested acreage remains in private ownership of ranchers, farmers and landowners, mostly in the western and southern sections of the county.

Efforts to eradicate or control weeds usually begin in early-to-mid-spring before the growing season of the noxious plants and last until late October to inhibit seeding from the weedy pests.

In its ongoing efforts to control and eradicate noxious weeds, the office offers several types of herbicides at discounted costs. The chemicals are available to Johnson County residents only to treat the four species of noxious weeds in the county.

“We do not sell herbicides to control vegetation in gravel driveways, patios, fence lines, etc.,” Hoge said.

As a service to property owners, the office provides rental sprayers to apply herbicides to eradicate noxious weeds.

Hoge also is available to answer “anything from horticulture to agriculture” regarding weeds, noxious or not, and to ensure weed control efforts, such as spraying, will be done safely and correctly.

The Noxious Weed Office is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s best to call first at 913-715-8358 for purchasing herbicides, renting spraying equipment or meeting the noxious weed director.

The Department of Public Works campus is located at 1800 West Old Highway 56.

 

 

Johnson County Government joins the 2020 LEED for Cities and Communities Grant Program

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), creators of the LEED green building rating system, announced this week that Johnson County Government is one of only 20 cities and counties in the country selected to participate in the 2020 LEED for Cities and Communities Grant Program. The program helps local governments that are committed to accelerating progress on climate change, resilience and social equity planning, to measure and track performance using USGBC guidelines.

Cities and counties participating in the 2020 program receive access to education resources and technical support as they pursue LEED certification. This award supports Johnson County Government’s already impressive sustainability accomplishments, including nine LEED certified buildings, implementation of a behavior-based energy savings program, hiring of a Sustainability Program Manager and an Energy Manager, use of 103 alternative fuel fleet vehicles, and other energy-efficient practices across all departments.

“The most intriguing aspect of the LEED for Cities framework is the ability to take a more holistic view of our sustainability work beyond environmental sustainability,” said Brian Alferman, Sustainability Program manager. “We understand that solutions that are people-focused, specifically on vulnerable populations, better reflect how our sustainability work can best create a thriving community for all, now and in the future.”

“Our community can be proud of Johnson County for being selected for this award,” said Commissioner Janee’ Hanzlick, Johnson County’s elected official representative for the Cities and Communities program. “The LEED certification process will allow Johnson County Government to not only build on our already strong foundation of sustainable practices, but it will also help us provide leadership in the larger community to help protect resources for future generations.”

See the news release for further information.

Two classes of electric bikes now allowed on JCPRD trails

Following a successful six-month pilot project, the use of two classifications of electric bicycles has been approved for use on all JCPRD paved trails, effective immediately.

During its Feb. 19 regular monthly meeting, the Johnson County Board of Park & Recreation Commissioners voted to approve a variance of JCPRD’s Code of Regulations relating to using a motorized conveyance on all JCPRD paved trails.

Approved for use on trails are e-bikes in Class 1, which can reach speeds up to 20 miles per hour, and Class 3, which can reach speeds of up to 28 miles per hour. Both classes are considered “pedal-assist,” meaning that the rider propels the bike normally, while a motor aids in powering the rear wheel.

Not allowed are e-bikes in Class 2, which are throttle-operated and do not require any additional pedaling by the rider. Other vehicles such as motorized scooters and Segways are also still prohibited on JCPRD trails.

JCPRD’s e-bike pilot program ran from July 15 of last year through Jan. 15. Throughout this period, a survey was posted on JCPRD.com, comments were received via email, and two demonstration days were planned, although one was rained out. During the demonstration event that took place, participants could ride e-bikes and were encouraged to complete a pre- and post-ride survey. During the pilot program, a total of 17 email comments were received, and included 14 in favor and three against e-bikes. The online survey was completed by 27 individuals with 81 percent in favor, 11 percent against, and 7 percent unsure.

Based on these results, and the fact that other cities in the area, including Olathe, already allow these two classes of e-bikes, JCPRD staff recommended allowing the two classes of e-bikes on paved trails.

JoCo on the Go: Improving community health

JoCo on the Go podcast episode #28 includes details of the latest Community Health Assessment. Epidemiologist Elizabeth Holzschuh and Program Manager Megan Foreman, both with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, share a new way you can access health data about the county and your neighborhood. They discuss issues such as life expectancy, childcare costs and poverty.

Check out the Community Health Assessment.

JoCo on the Go is available where you regularly listen to podcasts. Just search for the podcast by name and subscribe. Learn more about this podcast and get a complete transcript of each episode.

Community Health Assessment shared with new campaign

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has released the latest Community Health Assessment at HealthHappensHereJoCo.com. The site is really more of a story (with pictures) about how residents live, learn, work and play in Johnson County.

The narrative of Kansas’ healthiest county begins with one, life-altering data point: There is a 12-year difference in life expectancy in Johnson County neighborhoods located just five miles apart. This is more than a decade that some residents do not get to enjoy retirement, grandchildren or hobbies. While Johnson County is proud to be #1 in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings, the data shows there is still work to do in our community. 

The site punctuates the narrative with interactive data graphics users can download and use in their own work. Get the latest data on suicide, chronic diseases, access to medical care, and maternal and child health. HealthHappensHereJoCo.com also explores the issues residents talked about in door-to-door surveys, including financial fragility, high housing costs, mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, and their need to better connect to friends, families and neighbors who care about them.

Visit HealthHappensHereJoCo.com and learn how we can work together to build a healthier, more equitable Johnson County. 

Upcoming Events

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Wed, 11/11/2020 - 6:30pm

Solid Waste Management Committee Meeting