We had five speakers for this meeting, all on the topic of masks, and one gentleman used most of his time to rail on the topic of the new Diversity Committee. He’s not a fan.
One of the speakers was Kansas House Representative Jerry Stogsdill, District 21. He relayed the information he’s received as a legislator as well as information from the Chief Medical Officers meeting two Fridays back. I watched the CMO meeting, and it was pretty bleak. The hospitals are being overwhelmed. It’s worse now than when COVID-19 first broke out before we had vaccinations. The Delta variant has changed the game. As of Monday, KU had recorded another podcast, and it’s even worse. Children’s Mercy is now filled.
There was an update on JazzFest Monday night, but since then it has been decided to cancel the event.
Arts Council Committee
I updated City Council on the latest from Arts Council:
- We cancelled the State of the Arts reception, but will still be hanging the winning artwork for the October/November show. Submissions will be accepted through September 17th.
- We’re working with JCPRD to activate the gallery wall space at Meadowbrook Clubhouse in 2022.
- We’re working with R.H. Johnson to select some public art pieces for the Meadowbrook Shopping Center (south of the park).
- We’re working with the Parade of Hearts co-chair (a PV resident) to see if we can get a heart in PV either during the parade or permanently.
- We’re working with First Washington Realty for a Adirondack chair design contest and auction where the proceeds would go to PV Arts Council!
- We also currently have a virtual exhibit online for Randall Bennett. Check it out at www.artspv.org.
Councilmember Chad Herring commended city staff and local utilities on behalf of the Tree Board for their prompt attention to trees and branches when they fall. He reminded residents that if you think your tree needs to get checked out, do it ASAP to avoid permanent damage to the tree or to your property.
- COVID update
- Vax – JoCo = 57.8% for 12+ yo
- Vax – PVKS = 61.8% for 12+ yo
- CDC says we’re higher than both of those percentages when you count residents who got their vaccinations across the state line. JoCo could be closer to 75%, but we’re still in a “high transmission area”, and those numbers still are not good enough to be slow the spread.
- Vast majority of new cases are amongst the unvaccinated, and those folks are taking most of the hospital beds.
- The unvaccinated cases have more severe symptoms.
- This surge is affecting all of our access to quality healthcare right now. Beds, staff, resources, etc.
- A 3rd booster shot is available to certain immunocompromised people.
- Mayor created a new Housing ad hoc committee. The members are: Jon Birkel, Planning Commission: Ian Graves, City Council; Bonnie Limbird, City Council; Ron Nelson, City Council; Todd Harris, Diversity Committee; Mary Rimann, business owner; and Matt Gillam, housing developer. The meetings will be available to the public. Watch for more info.
- Census: JoCo grew! PVKS also grew 7% to around 23,000 residents. Additional data from the census will be analyzed, and the NE JoCo area may get more state reps/senators when the new redistricting occurs.
- The JoCo Charter Commission has their next meeting Aug 25th, and they will hear from the JoCo commissioners and Chairperson, Ed Eilert. If you have ideas for the JoCo Charter revisions, visit their website HERE.
- Café Provence in the Prairie Village Shops is celebrating their 20th anniversary! Joyeux anniversaire!
- New PV businesses:
- Lancer Day Parade – 9/3 at 2pm.
Chief Byron Roberson
Chief Roberson updated Council on the half year crime statistics for 2021:
- Good and not so good.
- Assault and battery is up from last couple of years. This tends to occur at eating/drinking establishments and in domestic violence cases.
- Auto thefts are up quite a bit – twice as many as last year. Other local agencies are experiencing this too. Most cars are recovered within a few days. The trend is to steal these cars for use in other crimes. Make sure your vehicles are locked up!! Car theft is a crime of opportunity.
- Burglaries relatively the same.
- Scams of elderly – PVPD recently partnered with IRS to share info and resources over next year to curb this ongoing issue.
- Mental health calls are a lot higher than the year before. This could be partially due to higher awareness of the new co-responder program and utilization of that resource.
Chief also assured us that Citizens Police Academy is still set to begin September 1st, and the participants will be socially distanced.
City Council approved an ordinance regulating public offenses within the City of Prairie Village, Kansas, amending Chapter 11 (Public Offenses and Traffic), Article 2 (Local Regulations) of the Code of the City of Prairie Village to require the wearing of face coverings or masks during the COVID-19 public health emergency and recovery.
I am very proud of the public participants on this topic Monday night and the City Council for a respectful and thoughtful discussion. It was clear NO ONE wanted to vote for this mandate, but we felt we had no choice.
The vote was 10-1 with one councilmember being absent. My reasons for changing my mind about a mandate despite not having a health department to guide us in Prairie Village were:
- The County clearly wasn’t going to do it for us. This type of mandate is more within their purview than ours, but they passed the buck.
- The majority of Ward 3 residents that reached out to me and to Council wanted this mandate. It wasn’t even close in Ward 3, and that’s who I serve. I’m proud of our thoughtful, caring residents.
- The Chief Medical Officers of our regional hospitals are basically begging for us to wear our masks to slow the spread. Our regular hospital patients are not able to be served because the beds, staff, and resources are all taken up by COVID patients.
One of the public participants said it better than I could. Dr. Jameelah Lang said, “masking represents an act of service to our community.” “Freedom does not mean that you are free from the ways that your fate is intertwined with your fellow community members.” And “We simply must relearn to care for one another.” My thoughts exactly. Thank you to all of you for caring about your community.
We moved a Memorandum of Understanding to the next phase for Bird Scooters in our city. I voted for this with the knowledge that it’s just a one year trial and with the stipulation that we can cancel the MOU with a month’s notice if too many minors are using them or they’re being used on the sidewalks. *They’re meant for 18 and older and for use on the streets like bicycles.
So that’s it for last week. Some things I’ve been up to:
- Attended a virtual bike safety workshop with BikeWalkKC and the JoCoLibrary to better understand how bikes (and scooters) interact with vehicles on our city streets. You can sign up for one of these workshops too HERE.
- Signed up for the PV Blood Drive at City Hall. You can too!
- Met with R.H. Johnson to scout out public art lcoations at Meadowbrook Shopping Center at 95th and Nall.
- Looking a bit like an old fool during the Council meeting when I had to call in Abi to help me minimize a window on her MacBook after my laptop crashed:
If you’re still concerned about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, please read this article that includes how the vaccine was rolled out (seemingly) so quickly and this article on myths vs. facts, both from Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Also, every ten years a commission is formed to review our Johnson County charter. The 2021 commission is meeting now. You can find the members of the commission and a form to send your ideas and thoughts to them here:
My apologies for any grammatical or typographical errors in this post. I wanted to get it out tonight, and I was rushed. 😏
Please be well and have a great weekend.