Plans underway for shelter at 29th and Ridge

Plans are in the works for a men’s Shalom House shelter at 2901 Ridge Ave. in Kansas City, Kansas.

The shelter will make improvements to the property before opening, according to a presentation made at a Unified Government Commission meeting on Jan. 6. The UG Commission approved a plan Jan. 6 for Catholic Charities to fix up the former Sanctuary of Hope retreat site, and move Shalom House there.

Shalom House was formerly near 13th and Parallel for about 40 years.

The site at 2901 Ridge Ave. will have 31 guest rooms, room for 35 cars along with a dining area, and may serve up to 60 individuals, according to Kevin Bentley, representing Catholic Charities.

Plans are for a slow ramp-up to maintain quality of services, he said.

More than $2 million will be invested in the improvements, he said.

The site will provide full wraparound services for men staying at Shalom House, he added. He also said there will be no walkup admissions, and referrals will be made from their programs and other agencies. They will conduct background checks and screening on individuals.

He also said there will be a security system and property at the site will be cleaned up. They may have to come back again for variances on buildings, according to planning officials.

Several people appeared in favor and against the project. Matt Watkins said it was a vital program serving the homeless.

Kasey Featherstone, who lives near the center, said she was excited about the program and it would lift many men out of poverty.

A neighbor who lives next to the property opposed it, saying she was concerned about her safety. Another resident was concerned about property values.

Paul Soptick, who lives near the site, said he was concerned about safety and he mentioned several areas to work on.

Commissioner Harold Johnson said homelessness was an increasing problem in the community, and needed to be addressed. He said the site provides a very discreet place in the community to do that.

Commissioners also asked the center to reach out to the neighbors and create a partnership at the neighborhood level.

Current Wyandotte County warming centers are listed online at https://www.wycokck.org/Engage-With-Us/News-articles/Warming-Centers-Winter-2021-2022.

An emergency cold weather shelter has opened at the Reardon Center, 5th and State, for nights when the temperature is 25 degrees and below. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the shelter closes at 7 a.m. It is a first-come, first-served shelter. The entrance is off 5th Street.

Wyandotte County students earn concrete certification at K-State

Two students from Wyandotte County at Kansas State University have earned concrete technician certification following completion of coursework and successfully passing an exam.

Christopher Betzen, senior in construction science and management, Bonner Springs; and Alexis Susunaga, senior in construction science and management, Kansas City, Kansas, received tilt-up concrete technician certification following completion of coursework and passing an exam administered by the American Concrete Institute, according to a K-State news release.

The two students are from the G.E. Johnson Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science at K-State’s Carl R. Ice College of Engineering.

Students earned the certification by demonstrating an understanding of safety, plan reading, scheduling, site preparation and foundations, slabs on grade, layout, forming, concrete properties and placement, erection and structural systems for producing tilt-up projects.

Tilt-up is a construction technique for casting concrete elements in a horizontal position at the job site and then tilting them to their final position in a structure.

The group of students completing the exam took the course Tilt-up Concrete Construction, which was developed and taught by Kimberly Waggle Kramer, professor and G.E. Johnson construction science chair in architectural engineering and construction science.

“Construction companies performing this type of construction are required to have a certified technician on the job,” Kramer said. “K-State has helped to triple the number of technicians in Kansas throughout the last several years, as well as helped to certify the first two female tilt-up concrete technicians in the nation. This year, 18% of the students are female, while according to the National Association of Women in Construction, women working in the construction industry numbered 1.5% of the entire U.S. workforce.”

In 17 years, more than 450 students have taken Kramer’s course and nearly all of them have become certified as tilt-up technicians with a 99.8% pass rate.

Dr. Martin Luther King Day celebration in KCK to be online-only on Monday

This year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Day celebration in Kansas City, Kansas, will be online-only.

The celebration will be shown on Facebook at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 17, according to those involved with the project.

The keynote speaker of the event will be Pastor Roger Bernard, president of the Central States Conference of Seventh Day Adventist.

The chair of the event is Dr. Clarence Small, with the Rev. Tony Carter.

Because of rising numbers of COVID-19 in the community, there will not be an in-person celebration for the public at Memorial Hall, as originally planned, according to organizers.

Instead, Joseph Straws III has been taping speakers, performances and announcements during three days this past week at Memorial Hall, and the video will be presented for public viewing at 11 a.m. on Monday on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kckmlkcelebration.

Also expected to speak at the event are Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Tyrone Garner and Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree.

One highlight of the program is that 18 scholarships will be given to high school seniors, Straws said. Funds are being raised for the scholarships. According to the event’s information, donations may be made to https://gkccf.kimbia.com/king01.

The program will be about 55 minutes long, Straws stated.