Despite objections from nearby residents, a Wal-Mart Supercenter of 147,848 square feet is under construction at the southeast corner of Johnson Drive and Kansas 7 Highway. According to the Shawnee Dispatch, it is expected to open by the end of 2013.
The plan to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter was first announced in 2005, but construction has been pushed back several times due to various reasons, such as the economic recession and construction on the nearby Kansas 7 highway. The main delay, however, was the uproar against the store from citizens of the Grey Oaks housing subdivision next to the building site.
Grey Oaks citizens were concerned with Wal-Mart affecting their neighborhood through possible traffic congestion, loss of property value and loss of small businesses. Lawsuits were filed against the city and the subdivision developer but were later dropped against the developer and won by the city.
Sophomore Beth Pfister, who lives in Grey Oaks, is concerned about having a new Supercenter nearby.
“It’s unnecessary because we have one in Bonner [Springs] and one in Shawnee already,” Pfister said. “It’s too big and in a bad location too. There will be traffic where kids are walking, and it will lower the value of our homes. I just really don’t think that we need it, or should have it.”
Sophomore Madeline Grube, who does not live in Grey Oaks, also finds it to be unnecessary.
“Honestly, I don’t think we need a Wal-Mart there,” Grube said. “It’s too close to the neighborhood, and it kind of ruins the area. It provides a place nearby to shop, but I think it will cause a lot of congestion. I think I just naturally dislike it because of the obvious reasons, like potential for crime, congestion, it’s ugly and right next to the neighborhood.”
On the other hand, Grey Oaks resident junior Joe Gunter said that the Wal-Mart Supercenter will be a great addition and is excited to have the new store near his house.
“The area there is unused right now and it will bring more businesses around us, which will be good,” Gunter said. “It will provide another option to buy stuff at. There’s no place for us to buy technology immediately around us right now, so that will be cool. I don’t see why people wouldn’t like it.”
The Kansas City Star reported that citizens of Bonner Springs are also concerned about how the new Supercenter will affect their area. The new Wal-Mart will be only six miles away from the existing Wal-Mart there, and Bonner Springs residents are worried about the possible loss of business.
However, Bonner Springs Community and Economic Development Director Marcia Harrington said that the new Supercenter will not have any effect on the existing Supercenter that is in Bonner Springs.
“I don’t think that it will affect us at all,” Harrington said. “We do experience some shoppers from Johnson County, but the majority of shoppers are from Wyandotte County and Leavenworth County. I know that Wal-Mart has done extensive research and has seen that the metro is a very growing area, so I’m sure they’ve seen a market expert here, and that’s why they’ve chose to put the Wal-Mart in Shawnee even though that makes it close to ours.”
Senior Cole Clay said that Wal-Mart Supercenters are harmful to neighborhood-based areas.
“It’ll drive traffic through the area and decrease home values throughout the area,” Clay said. “It will also squeeze out quite a few of the local businesses in the area. There won’t be any real revenue gain either, since Wal-Mart’s new profits will be cancelled out by losing small businesses. It’ll also drive away some of the potential new homeowners in the area since people moving into this area, aka those with kids, won’t want the increased traffic and reputation that having a Wal-Mart brings.”
The Science Olympiad team attended the Northland Invitational at Staley High School on Saturday, Feb. 2, but did not place in the top five.
The team received fourth place medals in the circuit lab and rocks and minerals events. It earned fifth place medals in disease detectives and Fermi questions.
Junior Tyler Hinnen was disappointed with the results.
“[Our result] wasn’t as good as it should have been, specifically for robot arm,” Hinnen said. “We didn’t practice much the week before and didn’t operate it properly.”
Science Olympiad sponsor Jennifer Aytes said that after this tournament, the team’s main goal is to focus on future competitions.
“Although I would have liked to see us place higher at the invitational, I hope the team will stay focused for regionals in three weeks,” Aytes said.
Here is a list of all the winners:
Circuit lab, fourth place, senior Daniel Franken and junior Tyler Hinnen
Rocks and minerals, fourth place, sophomores Kyal Long and Olivia Hafer
Disease detectives, fifth place, senior Cole Clay and junior Alyssa Hobson
Fermi questions, fifth place, seniors Chris Gillespie and Daniel Franken
Though they lost round one, the Quiz Bowl team of seniors Cole Clay, Alex Reeves and CJ Hopkins, juniors Andrew Hecht and Joe Gunter and sophomore Jack Earlenbaugh took first in the 5A regionals on Thursday, Jan. 30, qualifying them for state.
“We were doing awful in regular play at the start,” Earlenbaugh said. “Then we got into finals and destroyed.”
The win came as a shock to some of the team members.
“[The best part] was winning it out of nowhere,” Earlenbaugh said.
According to Earlenbaugh, the competition was not only competitive, but also very enjoyable.
“I love the competition, it’s so fun,” Earlenbaugh said. “I have to say it was awesome.”
State is Saturday, Feb. 9 in Newtown.
As the 2012 presidential election draws closer, candidates for the position have begun refining their platforms in order to gain the needed votes.
President Barack Obama will be running for the Democratic party and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will be running for the Republican party.
Various ABC News reports say that Obama plans on continuing work started in his first term, improving the immigration policy and returning all troops home from Afghanistan. He also wishes to lower rates on student loans, a plan Romney agrees with.
According to his website, Romney plans to “rebuild foundations of the American economy on the principles of free enterprise, hard work and innovation…increase trade, energy production, human capital and labor flexibility” if elected. Additionally, he plans to spend less than 20 percent of the gross domestic product, repeal Obamacare to save $95 billion and decrease the amount of money for foreign aid to save $100 million.
Coinciding with these financial ideas, junior Cole Clay is most concerned about the candidates’ fiscal policies.
“It will matter what they do about the debt more than anything else,” Clay said.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Romney has spent $5 million on his campaign, while Obama has spent $20 million on his.
Romney was previously running against Republican Newt Gingrich, who recently called off his campaign to support Romney, knowing he would receive the nomination.
“I think you have to at some point be honest with what’s happening in the real world, as opposed to what you’d like to have happened,” Gingrich said in an article in the New York Times.
In mid-April, Republican Rick Santorum announced that he would no longer be running for office. According to McClatchy Newspapers, he did so knowing there was the possibility of losing the primary for his home state of Pennsylvania he had represented in Congress for 16 years. However, Santorum remains firm in his resolve to bring down Obama’s plans.
“This game is a long, long, long way from over,” Santorum said in McClatchy Newspapers when he announced the end of his campaign. “We are going to continue to…make sure that we defeat President Barack Obama.”
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is currently running for the Republicans as well. Paul hopes to lower U.S. spending by $1 trillion in his first year, get rid of the Transportation Security Administration, repeal Obamacare and make various tax cuts, according to his website. In his campaign speeches, he has promised to be a strict constitutionalist.
“I have personal beliefs,” Paul said in the New York Times. “I believe that individuals should have the right to their life, the right to their liberty and also the right to keep what they earn. Fortunately for me, the Constitution and my personal beliefs come together. Because the oath of office doesn’t say, ‘Well, I’m going to Washington and I’m going to fulfill my personal beliefs.’ It says that we go to office and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
However, when compared to Romney, Paul has had little success in winning votes.
Behavior that some might characterize as mudslinging has also begun between the candidates and their supporters. One such incident occurred when supporters of Obama stated beliefs that Romney would not have made the same decision as Obama to kill Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, which was met with frustration by Romney.
“It’s totally inappropriate for the president to express to the American people the view that he has that he had an important role in taking out Osama bin Laden,” Romney said in an article in the Los Angeles Times. “I think politicizing it and trying to draw distinction between himself and myself was an innappropriate use of the very important event that brought America together…had I been President I would have made the same decision.”
The candidates can only hope that comments such as these do not cost them supporters. All they can do is continue spreading their message and wait until November finally arrives and the next President is elected.
For the seventh consecutive year, the Science Olympiad team qualified for the State Tournament. Held at Wichita State University on Saturday, April 7, qualifying teams compete against other Science Olympiad teams within the state.
The team members found out they qualified for the State Tournament on Wednesday, March 7, about one week after the Regional Tournament at Johnson County Community College on Saturday, Feb. 25. They received eighth place out of 23 teams, qualifying them for the State Tournament.
“The judges kept us waiting for a week and a half on news about state,” Science Olympiad member junior Cole Clay said. “I was excited when I found out we qualified.”
Though the team just found out they made it to the State Tournament, members who received first place in a competition at the Regional Tournament automatically qualified for the State Tournament.
“Ashley [Hague] and I have know that we were state qualifiers since regionals,” Science Olympiad member junior Amanda Platt said. “We got first place in a competition and anyone that gets first place automatically makes it to state.”
In order to prepare for competitions, Science Olympiad members participate in open labs every Tuesday from 3-5 p.m. During these practices members work with each other to study or work on things for the competition.
“I usually start putting in more dedication to the team about two weeks before competitions,” Clay said. “I put in the most time and effort then.”
The team will continue to have their weekly open labs until the State Tournament on Saturday, April 7.
At the 5A regional tournament hosted at Mill Valley on Thursday, Feb. 2, the Quiz Bowl team placed second and qualified for state competition.
Last year, the team failed to qualify for state, the first time in many years. But now the team is again eligible, and according to coach Mary Beth Mattingly the team is excited for the qualification after last year’s loss.
“The team is very happy about themselves and as a team, but they are humble about their win,” Mattingly said. “They had a strategy and knew how to recognize and play to each others’ strengths, and that helps the whole team succeed.”
In the end, Blue Valley High School took first place with Mill Valley close behind. Mattingly said the team met their overall goal for this tournament.
“Their goal was to do as well as they did in the first pool play as they did last year, and they did,” Mattingly said. “They feel vindicated now because last year’s loss was such a blow. But, now they feel back and track to getting Mill Valley back on the quiz bowl list. I am very proud.”
Next week on Saturday, Feb. 11, the team will head to Blue Valley to compete for the 5A state title, a title they won only two years ago, Congratulations and good luck at the competition.
Below is the list of state qualifying Quiz Bowl participants that will be competing next weekend:
Senior Zach Zarnstorff
Junior Cole Clay
Senior Tyler Owsley
Senior Austin Ross
Junior Alex Reeves
Sophomore Andrew Hecht
Quiz Bowl won first place at its meet at Lansing High School on Monday, Nov. 7. Quiz Bowl sponsor Mary Beth Mattingly was satisfied with their scoring.
“[We were all] very happy because it was the first gold we’ve brought home for the season,” Mattingly said. “I’m hoping the trend continues and we can win more.”
Junior Cole Clay says there is room for the team to improve.
“Some of the meets are just based on how our day went,” Clay said. “Overall, we’ve been doing alright. I know we’re going to get better.”
Senior Austin Ross thinks the underclassmen are beneficial to the team.
“We have a lot of new members that we can fall back on,” Ross said. “I know that since we have those people, next year will be great.”
To help the team prepare for every meet, they use practice books and questions from previous meets.
Quiz Bowl’s next meet is at Eudora High School on Monday, Nov. 28.