From the Mayor 10/04/16

Reprinted with permission of the Independence Daily Reporter

I can’t imagine how we could have any more going on around here than we already do. Sometimes I feel like we need an “Incredible Indy App” to keep up with everything. Let me mention just a few of the great things going on.

Emergency Room Groundbreaking. I personally can’t think of anything more exciting or more important for our community than the ground breaking for our new Emergency Room on Peter Pan Road. There was quite a crowd on hand for the event on Friday night, somewhere around 300 people. About 15 or 20 people from our community handled a shovel and turned over the first dirt. I can’t thank Labette Health enough for making a major commitment to Independence in building this wonderful new facility.


Wellness Fair. Also on the topic of health, the Health on Purpose Wellness Fair was a great success on Friday morning at the Civic Center. The event was hosted by the Southeast Kansas Senior Safety and Wellness Coalition, and more than fifty vendors participated, providing screenings as well as educational opportunities.

Cancer Screening. Still more happenings on the topic of health: The local Mason’s, in partnership with the Young Professionals organization, had a team of medical personnel from KU Med Center on hand Saturday morning to provide free cancer screenings. Since early detection is the best way to stop cancer in its tracks, this was an invaluable service to everyone who participated. The staff was kept hopping by more than 80 people who took part.

Next Generation 911 System. Our old 911 system has served us well, but it was time to upgrade. The old system was designed before cell phones became common, and so was not nearly as effective at handling cell phone 911 calls. Where the old system could pinpoint a cell phone call within a mile or so, the Next Generation system which was brought online last week can identify the location of the cell phone caller within a few feet! This is a wonderful new addition to our excellent emergency services.

Neewollah. October is here, which has got to be about the best time of year in Independence, because Neewollah is just around the corner. The Neewollah Headquarters opened early Saturday morning in the old J.C. Penney building, and there was already a line of folks waiting to get their tickets. The HQ will be open on weekdays from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Get your tickets now, and get ready to enjoy the entire celebration.

City Wide Cleanup. Our city offers us a great opportunity to “take out the trash” by providing a city wide clean up once a year and this Saturday is it, from 8:00 am to 3:00 p.m. If you live within the city limits, you can bring any trash…yard trash, garage trash, attic trash, basement trash – you get the idea, and they will dispose of it for you. I have never lived in a town that offers this service. Let’s make our town sparkle!

Downtown Cleanup. Let’s welcome the thousands of visitors we’ll have in town this month by making our downtown really shine. Saturday, October 15th, will be the Ninth Annual Downtown Cleanup, and Jim Kelley and his team have really refined this undertaking to an art. Plan to arrive at 8:00 a.m. and the coordinators will have a bulletin board with photos of all the projects needing attention. You can pick one that appeals to you and just jump in and take care of it. Please plan to attend, either by yourself or with a crowd of friends. No one is too young or too old, and many hands make light work.

Zoolloween. If you haven’t experienced the unique combination of our wonderful zoo with an evening of “Trick or Treating” then you’ve got to check out Zoolloween this Saturday, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. It is simply great fun.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Independence is a wonderful town with thousands of great folks who are working hard to make it even better!

Mayor Gary Hogsett