Northeast Johnson County morning roundup

The Google Fiber building in midtown.
The Google Fiber building in midtown.

Johnson County Democrats send letter in support of Prairie Village Council Candidate Jori Nelson. Registered Democrats in Prairie Village’s Ward I received a letter on official Johnson County Democratic Party stationary Thursday encouraging them to vote for Jori Nelson, who is challenging incumbent Dale Warman. The letter, signed by party chair Kyle Russell, acknowledges that the city council election is non-partisan, but notes that “Jori is a registered Democrat, and I am very excited to endorse her candidacy.”

Lancers baseball team ranked high as season begins. The Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches’ first poll puts SM East’s club among the top 10 in the state. The Lancers are ranked ninth in the 6A poll, followed by Derby High School at number ten. Lawrence Free State and Lawrence, both in the Sunflower League, come in at numbers six and seven, respectively. The Lancers opened their season Tuesday with a dominating performance, beating SM South 13-2. Pitcher Joey Wentz got the win for SM East. The Lancers will take on SM Northwest tonight at 7 p.m. at 3&2 Stadium, 18300 W 87th Street in Lenexa. [Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches]

Overland Park’s hopes for Google Fiber are still on hold. After the Overland Park City Council in September delayed a final vote on an agreement that would have brought Google Fiber to Kansas’ second-largest city, the tech giant effectively pulled the rug out from under the agreement by asking for an “indefinite continuance” on the issue. Six months later, Google doesn’t appear to be any closer to coming back to the table, according to the Kansas City Star’s Yael Abouhalkah, who asked Google execs about the prospects of the negotiations on an Overland Park agreement moving forward. They told him the company was focusing on its build out in Kansas City, Mo., at present, but that it may return its focus to Overland Park at a later date. Says Abouhalkah: “If Google really wanted to ease the concerns of many Overland Park residents, the company could simply sign the agreement right now with city officials.” [Google’s blunt message to Overland Park: No Fiber for you — yet — Kansas City Star]

NEJC representatives vote no on health care compact. Earlier this week the Kansas House passed the Interstate Health Care Compact, which provides that the states are responsible for regulating health care. All of the House members from northeast Johnson County — Reps. Melissa Rooker, Barbara Bollier, Stephanie Clayton and Emily Perry — voted against passage. The bill passed the House 74-48. Both Rep. Rooker and Rep. Perry recently wrote about this bill.

Roeland Park receives Gold Star Award. Roeland Park was recently recognized by the Kansas Mutual Insurance Trust for low workers’ compensation use. The city had no claims in the last year and received the top honor in the voluntary safety program. The city will save 5 percent or about $1,700 on premiums by receiving the award. [City of Roeland Park]

Prairie Chicken listed as threatened species, drawing rebuke from Brownback. The federal government on Thursday announced it had placed the Prairie Chicken on the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The bird’s natural habitat has been reduced by as much as 80 percent as a result of the expansion of oil and gas drilling and wind farms. With the threatened species designation, companies operating in the bird’s natural habitat may face regulations about how they conduct their operations. The move drew the following response from Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback: “”This is an overreach on the part of the federal government, and I am concerned about the effect this designation will have on Kansans and the Kansas economy. We are looking at possible responses on this issue.” [Prairie chicken listed as threatened — Associated Press]