Shawnee Dispatch

Good Samaritan shot during Walmart attack receives medal

Council also hires city manager search firm, approves railroad crossing closure at Feb. 12 meeting

Mayor Michelle Distler awarded Joshua Owen with the Carnegie Medal at the city council meeting on Feb. 12. Enlarge photo

February 17, 2018

His heroic action made headlines around the nation nearly two years ago and this week, he was honored by the Shawnee mayor for his bravery.

Joshua Owen was presented the Carnegie Medal by Mayor Michelle Distler at the city council meeting on Feb. 12.

On Sept. 11, 2016, Owen was in the parking lot of the Shawnee Walmart, 16100 W 65th St, when he heard screams for help. He responded and rescued a woman and her 8-month-old son who were under attack by two assailants.

In his effort to protect the victims, Owen suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

Thanks to his intervention, however, the woman and her child escaped further harm.

The Carnegie Medal is given throughout North America to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission was established by industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1904 with the sole purpose of recognizing outstanding citizen heroes like Owen.

The following action was also taken at the council meeting:

City hires firm for city manager search

In the first step towards hiring a new city manager, the council unanimously voted to select Springsted Waters to conduct the search towards finding a permanent replacement for former city manager Carol Gonzales.

Gonzales stepped down from the position in November to become the director of finance and administration for the Mid-America Regional Council. Deputy city manager Vicki Charlesworth was selected by the city council to act as interim city manager until the position is filled.

In its proposal, Springsted Waters, based out of Saint Paul, Minn., told the city it will be aggressive in its approach to make sure the right candidate is chosen for Shawnee.

While the firm will seek national candidates, it said it will also focus on those in the Kansas area, in order to bring candidates who have knowledge about the nuances of working in the midwest.

The firm will use online video interviewing to narrow down candidates, conduct management and leadership style testing on candidates and perform comprehensive background reviews on the finalists.

The proposal also states Springsted Waters will ensure diversity in its candidate pool, using its established networks to make direct and personal contact with prospective minority and female candidates.

The proposal estimates the city council could be interviewing potential finalists during the last week of April, with a hire by early May.

The proposal states its fee for the entire process would be $24,500.

Railroad crossing to close permanently

The council approved an agreement with BNSF Railway Corporation for the permanent closure of the 55th Street crossing.

Staff has worked over the last decade to implement a railroad quiet zone along the BNSF Emporia Subdivision line, with the closure of the 55th Street crossing being the last step in that process.

City documents state the closure will improve the quality of life for thousands of western Shawnee residents.

The Emporia Subdivision line running through the center of the city carries approximately 89 trains per day.

As per the agreement with BNSF, to close the crossing, the city purchased a piece of land to the east of the railroad crossing. It also must place permanent type barricades, such as concrete barriers, to close the road, and place Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) compliant reflector strips just outside of the BNSF right of way on each side of the railroad tracks.

The cost of the land was $306,525, with $22,500 being offset by BNSF and the State of Kansas Department of Transportation through its incentives programs.

Coffee shop proposed for southeast Shawnee

A new Scooter’s Coffee is set to be built in the Tomahawk Hills Shopping Center near 75th Street and Nieman Road.

The shopping center currently houses a Walmart neighborhood grocery store.

At its meeting last week, the council approved a special use permit to allow the establishment to operate a drive-thru service for the proposed 466 square-foot building.

The restaurant is oriented on the site so that the drive-thru window will be constructed on the east side of the building, away from 75th Street.

A previous special use permit was approved for the site for a Burger King restaurant that was never constructed.

Originally published at: http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2018/feb/17/good-samaritan-shot-during-walmart-attack-receives/