Selecting the winner of the Derby Community Foundation’s annual Generosity Challenge was a challenge itself. Thus, not just one, but two 2018 winners were chosen: Verus Bank for an organization and Brody Landers for an individual.
Landers, 7, used his own money to cater a barbecue lunch for Derby police officers, and Verus Bank allowed its employees to use a “pay it forward” campaign that was inspired by the 2000 movie “Pay It Forward.”
The winners were announced at the organization’s Dec. 13 Christmas party.
“The selection committee had a difficult time selecting the recipient due to the quality of the challenge participants,” said Theresa Hearn, DCF executive director.
Keeping with the philosophy of “pay it forward,” the two winners have the opportunity to award a $500 grant to a local charity of their choice.
The Generosity Challenge is designed to encourage and reward generosity within the Derby community. Each participant was featured on the DCF’s social media
sites, received a yard sign and was in a Derby Informer display ad.
Through the challenge, the DCF invited Derby area residents, businesses and organizations to “commit uncommon acts of generosity” during 2018.
“We are thrilled with the response to the Generosity Challenge,” Hearn said.
She said the organization has always believed that generosity abounds in the community and this program “illustrates that belief.”
The award’s selection committee was made up of the four previous recipients: Carol Keller, Becky Robinson, Dave Peebler and Ben Ray.
Other people or groups undertaking acts of generosity cited by the organization include:
• Jean Garinger of American Family Insurance provided free office space for Living Water Church and awarded a grant to USD 260’s Food Service Department to provide adult meals at Derby’s free summer lunch program.
• Derby Rotary Club awarded a grant to provide Derby Dash scholarships so hungry children could attend the summer lunch program.
• Keller Williams Real Estate agent Elizabeth Stanton and Derby Chiropractic owner Dr. Jason Stanton enlisted their four children – Blake, Alexis, Vivian and Sofia – in a year-long campaign to gather non-perishable food for the Derby Food Pantry.
• Derby Senior Center members adopted plots at the community garden to provide fresh vegetables to area seniors to encourage healthy eating.
• St. Mary Catholic Church Knights of Columbus Council raised funds to support activities for residents who have developmental disabilities.
• Julie Olmsted of Farmers Insurance Agency hosted Carriage Rides in the Park, a free event held in December that featured horse-drawn carriage rides through Derby’s High Park.
• MJB Heating and Cooling sponsored many activities to benefit the community including raising funds for the Wyatt the Warrior Foundation and holding a drive to collect items for Harbor House.
• Panther Professionals hosted the Party in the Park on July 4 at Madison Avenue Central Park, a free Independence Day event for Derby families.
• Revive Spa and Salon and Kayci Love took on the role of Kansas Chapter leader for The Magic Yarn Project. The project creates yarn wigs, inspired by Disney characters and Marvel/DC Superheroes, for children fighting cancer.
• Derby Noon Lions Club provided vision screenings and eyewear vouchers for local school children.
• Eye to Eye Vision Care of Derby provided emergency eye care kits to local school nurses and coaches.
When Derby City Council members were asked at their Dec. 11 meeting about some of their prime transportation concerns, safety floated to the top of the list.
They had good reason to as it’s becoming increasingly dangerous to be on area roads.
As the Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s own report bluntly put it: “Two of our three major safety statistics are getting worse.” Vehicle fatalities, non-motorized fatalities and serious injures are on the increase.
Council member Jack Hezlep, an avid bicyclist, said area roads can be dangerous.
“If you go down Greenwich on a bike, you’re taking your life in your hands,” he said.
Hezlep suggested putting shoulders on such roads like they do in Texas and Colorado.
Member Cheryl Bannon also expressed safety concerns, especially dealing with distracted driving, and the way fatalities have increased.
Chris Upchurch, principal planner with WAMPO and who appeared at the meeting, admitted that “we need to double down on safety improvements.”
“Maybe we got a little overconfident,” he said. “And not hitting it as hard. We do know what works.”
There are some physical components for increased safety, including the shoulders Hezlep mentioned, along with guardrails and striping, but a lot of it deals with education, he said.
Some of the current problem, he said, is that there was a decrease of driving during the Great Recession, especially among young males, who have the highest accident rates – but now that has climbed back.
In the safety regard, City Manager Kathy Sexton did reiterate that the city is working on it, including putting up signs reminding motorists to not drive while distracted.
WAMPO is the gatekeeper of federal funding for the area and its plan is called Reimagined Move 2040.
The WAMPO long-range plan has direct impacts on the local transportation system, which includes roads, bridges, bike paths, and transit.
It’s designed to look at decision-making for the next 20 years, but Upchurch says as a working document, it will be updated and changed as needed.
However, during 2019 it will collect public review and comments for the plan before finalizing it in 2020.
Upchurch is asking for input through an online survey at www.publicinput.com/3568.
The questions include: “What should the region’s transportation system of the future look like?” “Where is the region doing a good job?” “Where do we need to improve?” “Where should we cut back?”
The area has many transportation positives, Upchurch said, including little delay from congestion. Currently, it’s 26 seconds of additional time during the afternoon rush hour and in the future, that should go up a bit, to 45 seconds.
There also is lots of capacity for future growth, although there are some “localized bottlenecks.” That includes the north junction, or the highways on the north side of Wichita, which is scheduled for a major upgrade.
A lot of money is involved, WAMPO states, as there should be more than $6 billion in the area spent on transportation between 2015 and 2040.
But our overall growth is not high, at less than 1 percent and we have an aging population and a problem of educated young people leaving the area, Upchurch said.
A woman led Derby police on a chase Friday evening, resulting in a multi-car accident and four injuries at the busy intersection of Rock Road and Patriot Avenue.
The incident began at about 7:30 p.m. with a call about a possible private property accident involving a vehicle at Walmart, said Derby Police Chief Robert Lee.
However, additional information led officers to the nearby car wash on Red Powell. There, they saw the car on the grass with its engine on.
They approached the car and tried to get the 20-year-old female driver to exit, but she didn’t, and hit the gas, nearly running over a foot of one of the officers.
“Her behavior was extremely erratic,” Lee said.
The driver left at a high rate of speed west on Red Powell, then north on K-15. There was a report that a vehicle was hit along that route, but it was not confirmed. She then headed east on Patriot.
She drove along Patriot at high speed with officers behind her, but at a slower speed, and about four to five blocks back.
“The officers did not attempt to match her speed as it was excessive,” Lee said.
At Rock, she hit a vehicle waiting for the light and then two other vehicles, one southbound and the other northbound, resulting in a large debris field.
Three injuries were categorized as Code Green, or minor, and one as a Code Yellow, or more serious injury. A 911 supervisor said some victims were transported by county EMS to a hospital for additional treatment.
On Monday morning, Lee didn’t have the driver’s name to release as she wasn’t charged at that time, but he did say she is from Wichita.
Police know where she lives and have other personal data. She will be arrested and charged with “significant” felonies, Lee said.
Local police will work with the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office to compile the charges, he said.
There were blood samples taken to find out if she was impaired by drugs or alcohol. Lee doesn’t have those results yet.
Police are still working to compile all the details of this case. While there were some witness statements taken, Lee is asking that anyone else who saw the incident and has additional details, to call police at 316-788-1557.