In addition, Rupert received a Silver Award for a column on the news, “Window on the West,” as well as a Bronze Award in general reporting, and Silver and Bronze awards in sports reporting.
Publications and individuals entered stories and photos from 2016 in the annual awards contest, which is sponsored by the Kansas City Press Club. Entries were judged by out-of-state chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists, and journalism educators from the College Media Association and Kansas Collegiate Media.
The Unified Government delivered a coordinated team effort after massive storms on June 16 and 17 in Wyandotte County, according to UG officials.
Matt May, UG emergency management director, said 80 mph winds – hurricane-level strength – were recorded in Wyandotte County that weekend. May made his report to the UG’s Public Works and Safety Committee Monday night, June 26.
Severe tree and wind damage occurred Friday night, June 16, and also in another storm on Saturday, June 17, he said. While storm damage was throughout the county, it appeared to be worse on Friday in the north, and on Saturday in the south part of the county.
At one point, there were 13,000 Board of Public Utilities customers without power in Kansas City, Kansas, he said.
May said one area hard hit was at 83rd Terrace and Yecker, where there were about six blocks of tree limbs littering the street. It took about an hour on June 16 to get to a resident’s home in that neighborhood, he said.
May said the biggest challenge following the storm was a lot of single power outages at homes, with trees on power lines.
The Public Works Department cleared the streets, leaving at least a passageway, he said.
The UG asked residents to call the 311 telephone line if they had tree limbs that needed to be cleared. The UG coordinated pickups of tree limbs throughout Kansas City, Kansas.
Out of about 1,000 calls received at the 311 number, May said that five residents were identified as not having a way to get the debris from their yard to the curb for pickup.
Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) volunteers then went out to the five residents’ homes on Saturday, June 24, and cleared four out of five, he said. In one yard, the debris was so dense, involving large trees, that it was beyond the scope of the volunteers, he added.
Anyone who still needs help clearing storm debris should call 311, May said.
Jeff Bryant, a member of the UG Public Works and Safety Committee who also serves on the BPU board, said the second storm was more damaging than the first. At one point, the BPU called in three other cities for assistance, he said.
He commended Ottawa, which sent its entire electric crew to help Kansas City, Kansas.
Commissioner Melissa Bynum said she was appreciative of all the work done by the UG and BPU personnel.
Commissioner Jane Philbrook said the storm damage was spotty, with a few homes hit here and there on a street.
There was no path to the storm, May said.
“We didn’t get a feel for how this was until working with the 311 calls,” he said.
May said cooling centers were opened on Saturday to provide a safe place for people who did not have air-conditioning.
In other action at Monday night’s Public Works and Safety meeting, the committee approved revisions to the county emergency plan concerning firefighting, search and rescue, and assessment, recovery and mitigation.
Also approved was authorization for the UG to enter into a wholesale wastewater treatment service contract with the city of Edwardsville. It was a multiple-year process, but there is finally a tentative agreement, according to UG officials.
The committee also approved an ordinance setting seat belt fines, to bring it into compliance with a new state law. The ordinance change will not contain the amount of the new fine, but will state that it is up to the judge’s order, in case the state law changes again some time later, according to a UG attorney. The fine will increase from $10 to $30. Twenty dollars of the fine will go to the state, according to a UG attorney.
The committee also approved authorization of a survey for the construction of a new Rosedale electric substation for the BPU.
Also approved was authorization for a survey to construct the UG Juvenile Center complex and parking area.
The items approved at the UG Committee level will next go to the UG Commission level for approval.
The Rosedale University Town Plan meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, June 26, at 1401 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Kansas.
The community is invited to come out and help, and talk about the university town plan concept, said the communications coordinator for the Rosedale Development Association.
The Rosedale Development Association and the Unified Government Planning Department are holding the meeting to discuss the University Town Plan.
This plan is part of the Rosedale master plan that was recently adopted. There are some differences from the original master plan. The recently adopted master plan recommends a university town district near the University of Kansas Hospital and Medical Center.
Improving Fisher Park, transit access, walking and bike trails, and potentially a community center or library are among the items that are mentioned, according to the RDA. Housing also may be discussed.
Community engagement in Rosedale has improved since the Rosedale Development Association has taken a community survey, according to the RDA.
“We’re definitely excited,” said Andrea Steere, Rosedale Development Association’s communications and program coordinator. “We love the opportunity to continue to talk with the community about development, the look and feel of the community.”