The year that was in NEJC: A look back at the milestones of 2014

Dan Walker and his mother Sharon were presented with the other Homecoming King candidates at halftime of the Homecoming football game. Walker was crowned King the following night.
Dan Walker and his mother Sharon were presented with the other Homecoming King candidates at halftime of the Homecoming football game. Walker was crowned King the following night.

As we get perilously close to the end of 2014, we figured the moment had presented itself for a bit of reflection. It was a year that saw a lot of triumph — and a good deal of heartbreak — here in northeast Johnson County. Here’s a look at the year that was:

Mission_Chateau
Mission Chateau eked out an approval from the city of Prairie Village, but groundbreaking on the site is uncertain.

January: On its second trip before the Prairie Village City Council, the controversial Mission Chateau senior living community proposal got the approval it needed from the city when Mayor Ron Shaffer broke a 6-6 tie in favor of the Tutera Group. But the group of area homeowners who had organized against the 325,000 square foot development quickly brought legal action against the project, making the project timeline murky at best. [On second try, Tutera gets Mission Chateau approval; opponents say appeal likely]

February: Local residents watching the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochii, Russia, saw a few familiar faces when an ad by Chevrolet featured a clip from the Lancer Lipdub video SM East produced last year. [Lancer lipdub goes national! SM East students featured in ad aired during Olympic opening ceremony]

March: A group of young students from The Pointe, the dance studio founded by Tiffany Mogenson, the woman killed a few blocks from her Prairie Village home in an October 2013 crash at 75th Street and Roe Avenue, won the “Powerhouse Award” at the NexStar National Talent Competition, fulfilling a dream of Mogenson’s by putting together a full production act performance. [‘Dance like Tiffany is watching’: Young performers realize PV woman’s dream after her death]

Steve Schowengerdt edged council Dave Shepard to become Mission's new mayor.
Steve Schowengerdt edged council Dave Shepard to become Mission’s new mayor.

April: Mission voters by the slimmest of margins elected former city councilor Steve Schowengerdt to replace Laura McConwell as mayor. Schowengerdt, a proponent of strict fiscal discipline on the campaign trail, defeated councilor Dave Shepard by just 19 votes. [Steve Schowengerdt becomes new Mission mayor with 19-vote winning margin]

May: Propelled by a nine-strikeout performance from pitcher Joey Wentz, SM East’s baseball team earned its first trip to the state tournament since 2011 by beating Olathe East in Regionals. The Lancers couldn’t keep the momentum going, though, falling in the first round of state play to Maize. [STATEBOUND! Joey Wentz pitches 6 scoreless innings as Lancers win regional]

Spencer Collins appeared before the Leawood City Council after his family received threat of fines for having a Little Free Library in their yard.
Spencer Collins appeared before the Leawood City Council after his family received threat of fines for having a Little Free Library in their yard.

June: The Collins family’s decision to plant a Little Free Library in the front yard of their north Leawood home sparked a national outcry after they faced the threat of citation from the city for violating a ordinance prohibiting detached structures. [Leawood man faces citation for putting Little Free Library in his front yard]

July: SM East graduate Mark Harken and Paul Henson YMCA life guard Clay Miller were killed when the Ford Explorer Harken was driving with four other northeast Johnson County friends lost control on a county road near Clinton, Mo. Investigators determined that excessive speed caused the wreck. [2012 SM East graduate Mark Harken killed in wreck; 4 NEJC natives injured]

August: The owners of the Village Shops, Corinth Square and the Fairway Shops announced that they had agreed in principal on a deal to sell the properties to First Washington Realty, a Maryland-based real estate company. The move came just short of four years after the Prairie Village city council approved Community Improvement Districts that helped fund the redevelopment of the Village Shops and Corinth with a 1 percent sales tax. [Maryland-based real estate company enters contract to buy Village, Corinth and Fairway shops; PV council will be asked to reassign CIDs]

Meadowbrook_Country_Club
Meadowbrook Country Club, which opened in 1954, closed in October.

September: VanTrust announced that Meadowbrook Country Club would close at the end of October, paving the way for a proposal to fully redevelop the land. The club opened in Prairie Village in 1954. [Meadowbrook Country Club will close on October 31; development plan expected this year]

October: SM East students elected Dan Walker, a special needs student, its 2014 Homecoming King. [Dan Walker named 2014 SM East Homecoming King]

November: Mission Gateway developer Tom Valenti came before the Mission City Council with a vastly scaled down proposal for the property. The mixed use development that had included tenants like Sprouts Farmer’s Market and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill was essentially replaced with an expanded Walmart. [New Mission Gateway plan vastly changed; apartments, most retail gone; Walmart gets bigger, hotel added]

And SM East won its first state football title in school history. [NO UNFINISHED BUSINESS LEFT: SM EAST BEATS HUTCH FOR SCHOOL’S FIRST-EVER FOOTBALL TITLE]

December: The Shawnee Mission School District announced it intends to build a new state of the art aquatics center on the ground south of SM South District Stadium. The proposal preserves the Environmental Education Lab that sits on the east side of the SM South campus. [Shawnee Mission aquatic center will be built next to SM South stadium, avoiding environmental lab land]