The Sharp Record
It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun! It has been a
crazy few months at KU Medical Center, and I learn something new almost
every hour. Not kidding. Did you know we have more than 90 researchers
doing cancer research? And that’s just one disease area! Trying to
navigate our specialties in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, PKD,
and everything in between has been a steep learning curve, but one I
have enjoyed discovering.
My multiple personalities converge… As a lobbyist for the American
Cancer Society, I sat through hours of public comment at the Salina
City Council meetings when Salina was the first city in Kansas to go
smokefree. Then, as a legislator, I worked to move the
statewide smoking ban through the KS House, to no
avail. Finally this year, the legislature passed the ban and I was
witness to a bill signing we were fortunate to host at KU Medical
Center. It was a long journey, but what a breath of fresh air
There’s no good place to insert this, but I would be remiss if I
didn’t recognize the passing of another Lenexa icon. Harold
Green, husband of City Councilwoman Cindy Green, passed away
suddenly in January at just 54. It was a tragedy on top of a tragedy.
Harold was a staple at Lenexa festivals and other community events – a
Lenexa business-owner and stranger to none. It wasn’t just his BBQ that
made him fast friends with most – his easy smile and penchant for dry
sarcasm always brought laughs. And then there were the infamous Letters
to the Editor! It’s still so strange not to see him at every Chamber
event. I imagine Harold, John Ramsey, and Jane Klein have likely
started their own meetings “up there.” And I’m guessing there’s a round
of beer and a fine Irish blessing.
You know I cannot resist talking a little politics! In my last
newsletter, I mentioned my KS House colleague, Kevin
Yoder, had thrown his hat in the ring for the 3rd
U.S. Congressional District as a Republican. Since then, there has been
a lot of shuffling. Fmr. Sen. Nick Jordan has backed
out of the Republican primary race and Congressman Dennis
Moore’s wife, Stephene (watch the spelling,
we Stephs tend to be particular about our spelling!) has jumped into
the race on the Democrat side to fill her husband’s seat. This seat has
been targeted by both national parties to keep or win, so hold onto
your horses, we’ll have an exciting fall!
Also in my last newsletter, I mentioned Rep. Terrie
Huntington would run to replace retiring Sen. David
Wysong in the NE part of the county. Terrie won that seat
(yeah!), thus opening up her House seat. Barbara
Bollier, MD, a retired anesthesiologist (and KUMC alumna) ran
for the seat in the precinct race and won. Congratulations to Rep.
Bollier, she has already done yeoman’s work on the budget and standing
up for Shawnee Mission schools.
A few months ago, I was asked to join the Shawnee Mission
Committee for Excellence, which is an advocacy group of
community leaders to support policy alternatives that benefit Shawnee
Mission schools. I am honored to be on this committee and look forward
to our work as the potential for a new funding formula is discussed in
Topeka over the summer.
What do you think about adding a “social” aspect to the
newsletter? I enjoy interacting with you through the newsletter, but it
can be very impersonal. I don’t really get to know YOU, other than
probably your political affiliation and where you live. Let’s start
with an easy topic and one where I know you have an opinion – FOOD.
Since Dan introduced me to foods beyond cereal, chips/salsa, and
popcorn, we’ve become quite the foodies and I love to get
recommendations on independently owned local eateries. I’m partial to
KS spots, but will travel far and wide for good eats! In the next
newsletter, I’ll include my favorites, yours, and even some of your
comments. Please include the web link or physical
Other (what did I forget?):
Speaking of food, JCCC is well-known for its Culinary Arts
Department and now we’re asking the community to put their money where
their mouth is (pun intended). The Board of Trustees recently
challenged the JCCC Foundation to fundraise $3 million toward a new
Culinary & Hospitality Arts Institute (CHAI)
building on the SW corner of the west entrance to the college. If the
Foundation reaches their goal, the college has significant capital
reserve funds that can only be spent on capital projects. We committed
to spend down some of those funds to complete the remaining $7 million
to fund the project.
Sports: I cannot count the number of sports teams that have
come before the Board to receive special recognition. None of that
recognition has been simply for their wins on the field. Each team has
achieved remarkable success in the classroom – multiple All-American
scholar athletes, award-winning team grade point averages, and dozens
of laudable individual academic awards. A lot of schools talk the talk
of academic achievement for athletes, but our JCCC teams set the bar
and walk the walk – or run, depending on the sport!
Debate teams are usually made up of some of the brightest
students at any school. Given that, JCCC has some of the brightest
students in the country. They are ranked #1 again this year among
community college debate teams. That’s a big honor – but I’ll raise it
one more: They are ranked 25th nationwide among ALL
debate teams. That includes the Harvards, Stanfords, and Yales
of the world. I think the KS legislature could use a few good JCCC
We have spent a lot of time in this committee discussing a topic I
dread every year in my own family – health benefits.
It’s a good think we have a stellar benefits consulting firm on hand to
help us navigate and translate everything into English. You know how I
like to translate political “stuff” in my newsletter? I need someone to
do that for me in the benefits and investments world.
The cost of health insurance benefits has increased about 8.5%
(we’re pretty lucky, most companies are seeing hikes in the 15-17%
range) this year and we are trying to figure out how to balance that
increase with our commitments to faculty and staff.
Speaking of, faculty negotiations are currently underway for the
new contract. This process has been draining on all those involved, but
I am convinced we are close to a contract that expresses the Board’s
long-term commitment to quality faculty and providing one of the best
benefit packages of any community college across the country.
The goal all-along has been to avoid furloughs, and I think we
will be able to do that for the upcoming contract year. Fiscal year
2011 is expected to be even worse than this year, but everyone is
working hard to hold budgets in check.
Legal Counsel: Just before I came on the board, an Request for
Proposals was sent out to bid for legal services. During the transition
period from the old board to the new board, that bidding process
expired. I have been working at each HR committee meeting, to ensure we
do go out for bid for legal services and inquire on the status at every
meeting. Currently, we are considering hiring an in-house legal counsel
to manage the bulk of the legal work, which is focused on employment
law. We will then be bidding out for the excess legal services required
outside the expertise of whomever we hire. This will be a much smaller
contract than our current needs. This process will begin following this
year’s faculty contract negotiations.
As I mentioned, the Board challenged the Foundation to fundraise
$3 million to start the CHAI (all this talk and I’m craving some now).
That challenge actually started with Former Sen. David
Wysong, whose family foundation provided $750,000 toward a new
culinary arts building. The Wysong Family Foundation gift got the ball
rolling and I’m guessing there will be a yummy cannoli reserved for him
at the opening – anticipated to be in 2012.
Westwood Women’s Club: I spoke to their group a
few months ago to provide a JCCC update as well as about some of the
research and community programs at KU Medical Center.
Abdullah Shrine in Lenexa: Thank
you to my neighbor, Daniel Clancy for inviting me to share a JCCC
update with this group. It was a fun evening and vaguely familiar since
my dad was in the Lodge in Garden City.
Kathy Kennedy graciously
asked me to speak to the College Learning Experiences, Activities, and
Resources certificate program last weekend. This program provides
classroom activities to encourage lifelong learning for the
developmentally disabled in our community. There are classes in yoga,
cooking, art, music, culture, etc. It was a wonderful honor to speak to
Last Question: How many community colleges are in
the State of Kansas?
Answer: There are 19 community colleges in
Kansas – Randy Holt of Overland Park is the winner!
New Question: Let’s do a question related to a
recent Board of Trustees meeting:
Who was the first Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Johnson
County Community College (technically Junior College at that
Reply to this email to answer the question. The first
correct answer will win the prize (tickets to a Carlsen Center
performance), and recognition with the correct answer in the next
edition of the Sharp Record.
Please do not hesitate to contact me about these or any other
issues of interest to you. I appreciate the opportunity to
represent you on the Board of Trustees.
Johnson County Community College
12345 College Blvd
Overland Park, KS 66210
and the volume of your Inbox. I appreciate the opportunity to
communicate with you in a timely and economical fashion. This is
a privilege I take very seriously. You have entrusted me with
your email address and I vow to you it will not be sold or lent for any
purpose other than for the strict use of my email updates. If you
wish to unsubscribe from the Sharp Record, simply reply to this email
with "Unsubscribe" in the Subject line.