Briefly Noted: Car thefts skyrocket in Johnson County; Advocates group names new CEO

In some of Johnson County’s biggest cities, the increase in the number of stolen vehicles from 2019 to 2020 was more than 40%. File photo.

Car thefts skyrocket in Johnson County

Car thefts skyrocketed in Johnson County in 2020, setting a record in Overland Park.

In some of Johnson County’s biggest cities, the increase in the number of stolen vehicles from 2019 to 2020 was more than 40%. Police are unsure about the reason for the spike but think the increase may be tied to the pandemic and economic troubles.

Overland Park Police reported 310 stolen vehicles in 2019. That statistic jumped up by 42% to 525 in 2020.

“I know people don’t want to hear, quite honestly, but people are lackadaisical in security,” said Police Chief Frank Donchez. “They leave the car running and they go in somewhere or they warm it up and leave the garage door open.” [Car thefts skyrocket in Johnson County in 2020, setting a record in Overland Park — KCUR]

CASA of JoCo, WyCo names new president, CEO

The Court Appointed Special Advocates of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties has named Natalie Julien its new president and chief executive officer.

The southern California native was a social worker for a foster family agency, worked for the local department of children and family services, and has a background in public administration and social work. Julien said in a press release her interest in working with families and children has led her to CASA.

“I look forward to ensuring that all children in our service area are receiving the resources and support they need, particularly during these complicated times,” Julien said. “Every child should have access to a CASA volunteer who can be a resource to them through the court process.”

Sunflower Writers’ Workshop launching this month

The city of Lenexa is launching its new Sunflower Writers’ Workshop this month.

Led by Jen Harris, a poet, the free workshop comprises a series of virtual sessions via Zoom that will take place on the third Thursday of the month starting Jan. 21. Each session takes place from 7 to 9 p.m.

The first half of each workshop is dedicated to active writing practice through prompts, according to a city newsletter. The second half will offer time for participants to share or read aloud their work. Here’s the Zoom link to the first workshop.