Security layers: Blue Valley School District has adopted a badge-system safety alert

The Blue Valley School District has adopted a crisis alert system that provides special badges that enable staff members to summon help in the case of minor emergencies like accidents or fights, or to lock down a building in the case of an armed intruder or other major crisis.

In the case of a lockdown, strobe lights will flash and instructions will be relayed on all computer screens and over the intercom. The system also tells school leaders exactly where an emergency is occurring.

The same system, manufactured by Centegix, is also coming to the Olathe Public Schools.

Blue Valley expects to implement the system in January, once the equipment is installed, protocols are developed and staffers are trained. Officials said it is a part of a layered approach to school security, with each component designed to reduce the risk to students and staff.

Dan Carney, director of safety & security for the district, said the Centegix system addresses a real problem.

“In every mass school shooting in the country, we’ve learned through research that there have been communication failures … just before and at the moment of the crisis itself .... (in) the ability to communicate to the right people in the building, because these things happen so quickly,” Carney told the school board in September.

The district will spend just over $1.7 million for the system, which covers installation and five years of support. Funding will come from a 2020 bond issue approved by voters.

Joco health leader to resign

Dr. Sanmi Areola, who helped lead Johnson County’s COVID-19 response, will step down next month as director of the Department of Health and Environment for an opportunity outside of the county. His last day of work will be Nov. 4.

Dr. Sanmi Areola
Dr. Sanmi Areola

Areola joined the department from Nashville in March 2020. He arrived as the pandemic began to unfold. Charlie Hunt, deputy director of the Department of Health and Environment, will be interim director.

Voter registration deadline is Oct. 18

Oct. 18 is the last day for would-be voters to register before the Nov. 8 general election, when Kansans will decide who will be governor and hold other statewide offices for the next four years.

Also on the ballot are a statewide U.S. Senate seat, the 3rd District congressional seat and state representative races, among other issues.

In addition, all Johnson County voters will decide who replaces County Commission Chairman Ed Eilert, who is retiring after a long career of public service.

Go to for information on how to register.

Lenexa opens voting for new pool name

It’s election season in Lenexa, but not what you think. Instead, residents can vote on a new name for the Indian Trails Aquatic Center, which is being refurbished in Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park.

Earlier this year, the city asked the public to suggest pool names. After reviewing submissions and noting frequently used words, the staff narrowed the choices to to three:

Lenexa Splash at Sar-Ko-Par Trails.

Sar-Ko-Par Aquatic Center.

Sar-Ko-Par Splash Aquatic Center.

Voting closes on Oct. 24 at

The old name sprang from its location in what once was Indian Trails Park, which merged with the nearby Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park.

College clinic at SM East

More than 150 colleges and universities from across the country will be represented on Oct. 12 at the Shawnee Mission College Clinic, where students and parents can check out educational possibilities after high school.

The event is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Shawnee Mission East High School, 7500 Mission Road. It’s open to all high school students and their parents. Admission, parking and a shuttle service are free.

Old pool house finds new life in OP

A closed pool house is on its way to becoming a temporary home for firefighters in Overland Park.

Starting next year, the city will rebuild its fire station at 75th and Conser streets, so a new spot had to be found for fire crews to live during construction. After considering churches and other nearby options, planners settled on the city-owned Marty Pool property down the street at 7405 Conser.

The pool hasn’t been open since 2019, and the site eventually will be turned into a park. Meanwhile, at the pool house, the concession area will become a kitchen and living area, and the locker rooms will house restrooms and bunks. The old chemical and pump room will be used for storage, and a roof is being added over the former entry breezeway into the pool.

The city said the $200,000 renovation will make use of materials repurposed from the existing fire station.

The current station is home to three 10-person crews that work 24-hour shifts. The contingent at the pool house will be closer to a half-dozen. Officials have been working on how to deploy the station’s vehicles during construction. At least one truck will stay on the current site, a city spokeswoman said.

31 Days of Kindness

A Shawnee-based foundation is spearheading a 31-Day Kindness Campaign designed to enhance the mental health of people all over the world.

The program, sponsored by The Big Shifts Foundation, begins on Oct. 14 and ends on Nov. 13, coinciding with World Kindness Day.

“We had a mental health crisis before the pandemic, but it’s been amplified by the burnout, stress, fear, hopelessness, exhaustion, grief, anxiety and depression,” said Michelle Robin, founder of the Big Shifts Foundation. “We must do something to get ahead of this — and research shows kindness works.”

To anyone who signs up, the free program delivers daily emails that include an uplifting quote, an invitation to take action and show kindness that day, and a brief description of why that act of kindness has a profound impact on our well-being.

To learn more and sign up, visit Organizations interested in signing up their teams should go to People can still sign up after Oct. 14.