Thank you for your continued interest in the community-wide vision project, Heartland Visioning. 

In an effort to keep you informed about topics you are passionate about, we will begin a series of newsletters which will align with our six foundations: Education, Quality of Life, Economic Development, Infrastructure, Government and Private Sector Leadership.

The "Visioneer" will be a monthly newsletter while the foundation newsletters will be sent on a quarterly basis. Foundation Newsletters will begin in September.

To receive the newsletters mentioned above, you will need to indicate your area(s) of interest. 

You can do this by scrolling to the bottom of this e-mail and then clicking on the link that says "Update Profile/Email Address." 

 This will take you to a page where you will be able to select the areas you are interested. 
We value your interests and want to help provide the latest news and trends; staying informed on these will help you plan an active role in achieving our community-wide vision. 
NOTO Featured in the New York Times
On August 4th, the North Topeka Arts District was featured in the Sunday edition of the
New York Times. 

The article, "In Topeka, Art, Earrings and Cupcakes" was published in the Travel Section of  the New York Times

The article was written by a New York Travel writer, Jeanine Barone who visited Topeka last summer. Barone worked with Visit Topeka, Inc. to see sites and attractions in Topeka. Anita Wolgast, co-chair of the NOTO Arts District project took Barone around NOTO, which looked very different than it does today. 
 Today, NOTO has 19 active businesses with First Fridays also drawing over 1,000 people each month. The Article featured four locations; NOTO Community Arts Center, The EclectiveBradley's Corner Cafe and Mayking Cakes
"...the devastating floods of 1951 set into motion decades of decline and crime in the area went on the upswing. It took the birth of the North Topeka Arts District, known locally as NOTO, in 2008 -- thanks to an effort by community leaders and property owners, and fueled by the infusion of private money -- to stimulate a dramatic turn around..." said the New York Times article. 


To view the entire article, click here. 

"On behalf of the NOTO board of directors, we express our appreciation to Visit Topeka Inc. for including NOTO in the travel writer's itinerary last summer and also to Jeanine Barone for the excellent story for The New York Times," Wolgast and John Hunter, co-chairs NOTO Arts District Project, "This is indeed a turning point for the NOTO Arts District, validating this successful community project, which is part of the Heartland Visioning process."


For more information about NOTO visit,
New City Manager Selected
On July 25, Topeka City Council voted and selected to hire Jim Colson as Topeka's next city manager. 
photo credit:
Colson has been serving as deputy city manager of Glendale, Ariz. 

Council members voted to approve a two-year contract with Colson which will begin August 27th. 

Each year after the first two years, the contract will be automatically renewed unless either party notifies the other in writing by July 1.

Colson is Topeka's second permanent city manager to be hired. In 2004, voters approved a charter ordinance for our current city council-manager form of government, which was previously a strong mayor-council form. 

Bob Murray & Associates, the search firm hired by the city, narrowed the initial 49 candidates to two: Colson and Margie Rose, who has been the assistant city manager for Corpus Christi, Texas. 
For more information about the city manager selection, click here.
Topeka -- Tops for House Buying, the online home of Newsweek Magazine, recently released their study on what cities are the best for buying a house.

In order to find the best cities to buy a house, considered the following four categories (weighted equally):
  • Median home price for each of the 150 cities during the first quarter of 2012;
  • Factored in the year-to-year job growth rate;
  • Overall unemployment and
  • Ratio of home prices to income.
Topeka was ranked 14th out of the top 25 cities to buy a home. The Top 25 Cities are:    
25. Minneapolis
24. Dayton, Ohio
23. Grand Rapids, Mich.
22. Davenport, Iowa
21. Columbus, Ohio
20. Decatur, Ill.
19. Springfield, Mo.
18. Cumberland, Md. 
17. Columbia, Mo.
16. Oklahoma City
15. Des Moines, Iowa
14. Topeka, Kan
13. Appleton, Wis.
12. Amarillo, Texas
11. Tulsa, Okla. 
10. Cleveland
9. Toledo, Ohio
8. Akron, Ohio
7. Omaha, Neb.
6. Sioux Falls, S.D.
5. Bismarck, N.D.
4. Lansing, Mich.
3. Lincoln, Neb.
2. Waterloo, Iowa
1. Fargo, N.D.
For more information on the study please visit,
Quarterly Crime Statistics
On July 25, the Topeka Police Department (TPD) reported the quarterly crime statistics for the community. 

Compared to one year ago, there is a decrease in property crimes while violent crimes have increased. Total property crimes from January to June of this year are down 117 crimes, while violent crimes are up 89 versus this same point in time in 2011.

Topeka still ranks in the top five safest capital cities with a population between 75,000 and 225,000. A charted comparison was shown at the quarterly crime statistics presentation with data obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 2011. 

Topeka with a population of 128,300 had a total of 8,200 reports of property and violent crimes.  Click here to view how Topeka compares to other capital cities

Safe Streets Coalition and the Topeka Police Department have provided you with tools to help keep you and those around you safe:
  • Lock doors, windows and garages at all times, even when home.
  • Secure your home with strong doors, locks and alarms.
  • Never leave a purse or other valuables where they can easily be seen from a window in your car or home.
  • Add a peep hole to your front and back doors.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you, especially if you are alone or it is dark.
  • Travel with a friend whenever possible. 
To view more safety tips, click here.

For more information regarding the Topeka Police Department's quarterly report, click here.
Mark Your Calendars for the Largest Work Out

Shawnee County's Largest Workout is back for a third year.

When: September 19 | Starts @ 6:30 p.m.
Where: Moore Bowl at Yager Stadium, Washburn University

The third annual work out will also feature a health fair. The fair will feature booths from area vendors and will be open before and after the workout. 

The Shawnee County Largest Workout is a way to bring the community together to promote health while having fun.

For more information about Shawnee County's Largest Workout, click here
Topeka Zoo Updated Ape Exhibit

On July 21, the Topeka Zoo unveiled their latest addition: the Capital City Bank Tree Top Conservation Center. 


The treetop exhibit will take visitors through a heavily wooded jungle trail to a tree house. The tree house overlooks the orangutan exhibit and includes a look at the new landscaping that includes a waterfall. 

The interactive exhibit features discovery stations and graphics designed to educate visitors regarding the threats to apes in the wild. The new conservation center allows visitors to view authentic African artifacts and learn more about apes. 

The conservation center was made possible through a gift from Capital City Bank for the bank's 120th Birthday. 

For more information about the Topeka Zoo visit their website,
Safe Streets Coalition Seeks Artists
Safe Streets is currently working on their first Painted Utility Box Project and Fundraiser. Local artists will be allowed to paint utility boxes around Topeka and transforming them into works of art. 
Artists will:
  • Receive a $100 stipend
  • Be one of the first to transform a utility box into art & 
  • Have the opportunity for the city to see their artwork.
For more information please call Safe Streets at 785.266.4606
Tenth Annual IndiaFest Set for September
In 2003, the India Association of Topeka began hosting IndiaFest. Each year the number of attendees at the events has grown steadily. Last year, over a thousand attended the annual event.

IndiaFest will be September 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Big Shelter House in Gage Park. 

The main draw for the IndiaFest is the wide array of homemade foods, which represent regions of India. Food tokens may be purchased at the venue (cash only). 

The event also includes:
  • Mehndi (Henna Hand Art)
  • a Boutique (Indian Costume Jewlery) & 
  • Music & Entertainment.
Each year, the net proceeds are given to a local charity. The 2012 event will donate all net profits to The Villages, Inc.

For more information about IndiaFest 2012, visit: 

Kansas Children's Discovery Center Reaches Milestones
In a little over one year, the Kansas Children's Discovery Center (KCDC) has celebrated numerous milestones
  • 10,000 visitors in 30 days (June 30, 2011), 
  • their first birthday (June 1, 2012) and 
  • now the children's museum has surpassed 100,000 visitors (July 24, 2012). 
Tuesday, July 24th also marked another important milestone for the discovery center, they've clocked more than 10,000 volunteer hours in the last year. 
As of July 24th, KCDC has had visitors from 11 countries and every state except Delaware.
For more information about the Kansas Children's Discovery Center, please visit 
Contact Us

Safe Streets coalition is working to make Topeka the safest capital city.

First Friday Artwalk takes place each month, to see the various locations, visit

Visit to see what's going on in Topeka.
@ Downtown Topeka
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
August 9 -- August 30

@ Mulvane Art Museum
Times Vary
August 8 -- August 19 
Inside Peanuts
@ Mulvane Art Museum
Times Vary
August 8 -- September 16

@ 12th & Harrison 
7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 
Saturdays till November 3
@ Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
August 13 -- October 8
@ Rossville Grade School
Times Vary
August 10 -- August 12
@ Topeka Expocentre
Times Vary
August 10 -- August 12
Get Fit Topeka
@ Hummer Sports Park
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
August 16
@  Great Overland Station
Starts @ 9:00 a.m.
August 18
@ Landon Arena
Times Vary
August 23 -- August 26  
@ Lake Shawnee
Times Vary
August 31 -- September 2
For more information on these events and events like this please, click here. 

NOTO Art Classes

All classes are held at the NOTO Art Center, 922 North Kansas Avenue, Topeka

Storm Clouds & Tornadoes in Black & White Media
Taught by Barb Reser
August 6 | 5:30  to 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $20 

Acrylic Landscape Part I & II
Taught by Barb Reser
August 20 | 5:30 . to 7:30 p.m.
August 27 | 5:30  to 7:39 p.m.
Cost: $40 (2 sessions) 

Watercolor Pencils & Crayons Techniques
Taught by Barb Reser
September 10 | 5:30  to 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $20 

Sunrise/Sunsets in Gouache Paint
Taught by Barb Reser
September 17 | 5:30. to 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $20 

Acrylic Texture Techniques Part I & Part II
Taught by Barb Reser
October 1 | 5:30. to 7:30 p.m.
October 8 | 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $40 (2 sessions)

Taught by Bailey Marabel
September 11 to December 11 | 5:30. to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $145 (7 sessions)


Pizza Pochade Box Plein Air Paint Out
Taught by Cally Krallman & Kim Casebeer
October 20 | 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $50

For more information on the art classes, please visit

KTWU Earns Two Regional Emmy Awards
KTWU, the public television station licensed to Washburn University, eared two regional Emmy awards. The Heartland Chapter of National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded these on Saturday, July 21st. 


The Heartland Chapter honors television production in the two major regional markets, as well as 10 smaller markets. 


KTWU was honored in the Special Events Coverage category for the "2011 Washburn University Holiday Vespers;" directed by Jim Kelly and edited by Eugene Williams and Kevin Goodman. 
The station also received an Emmy for "Disability Pride" in the Community/Public Service (PSAs) Campaign. John Njagi was both the videographer and editor for "Disability Pride," which was done on behalf of Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy. 

KTWU was also nominated for a thrid Emmy for the "Hounds of the Baskervilles: Theater of the Mind," which featured the Karen Hasting Players performing before cameras. Kelly also edited and directed the program. 


For more information about KTWU, visit their website