Topeka Metro to Hold Public Hearing 
Tonight, the Topeka Metropolitan Transit Authority (TMTA) will hold informational meeting about returning paratransit services to the entire City of Topeka. 

At the informational meeting, TMTA wants to hear the public's input before making a decision about returning city-wide paratransit services. 

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the meeting on October 10 at 4:00 p.m. at Quincy Street Station, 820 Southeast Quincy. 

Returning paratransit services to the rest of the city would allow for 38 more people to use the service for an additional charge. The TMTA proposed amount is a $15 ride versus the previous $4 ride. According to TMTA it costs $25 a ride to provide paratransit services. 

TMTA scaled back its paratransit services November 1, 2011, reducing the service area to three-fourths of a mile from the city limits, which falls within the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The reduction in services was projected to save TMTA $49,706 per year.

TMTA will also take comments by emailing and by a fax to 785.354.8476

For more information about the Topeka Metro please visit
Utility Boxes Showcase Community Art


On September 25, Safe Streets Coalition unveiled their first painted utility box at southeast 29th and California. 


The painted utility boxes are a part of an art initiative to reduce graffiti and promote community art. Local artists will complete 20 utility boxes around Topeka.


The "Native Topekan" was designed and painted by Alan Burgess of Topeka. Each utility box will have a different theme that is selected by the artist and approved by Safe Streets and the city of Topeka. 


The utility box project is a collaborative effort with Safe Streets, the city of Topeka, Advantage Metals Recycling, LLC, AmeriPride Services, ColorWorks Paint & Supply and WIBW-TV.


The goal of the project is

New city manager Jim Colson, left, and artist Alan Burgess, right, unveil "Native Topekan" at southeast 29th and California.
to "provide opportunities for local artists to showcase their art and to contribute to the vitality and attractiveness of the streetscape.


There are eight more utility boxes that have been approved. Four of which are finished. The utility boxes are:


■ Harley Vinsonhaler - "Small Colorful Nature" at southwest Huntoon and Washburn and is complete.

■ Darlene Regnier - "Hispanic Heritage" at northeast Seward and Freeman and is complete.

■ Chloe Callahan - "A City Alive" at southwest 29th and Fairlawn Road and is complete.

■ Dale Rose - "Fiesta Skirt" at southeast 6th and Branner and is complete.

■ Barbara Waterman-Peters - "City of Gardens" at southwest 21st and Washburn Avenue.

■ The Mighty Amigos - "Topeka Land of Dreams" at southwest 17th and Fairlawn is complete.

■ Beth Bogenrieder - "There's No Place Like Home," at southwest Clontarf and Burlingame Road.

■ Leslie Maynard - "Kansas Symbols" at southeast 21st and Indiana Avenue.

A $100 stipend will be paid to each project upon its completion was made possible by Advantage Metals Recycling, LLC.


For more information on how you can get involved in the project, please visit Safe Streets website.

Upcoming Dia de los Muertos Events

The week of October 26 there will be multiple events highlighting Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) across Topeka.


The holiday, which is officially celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd, is said to be the days of the year when spirits of the dead return to Earth to visit loved ones. During this time, food and drink is left for them, stories are read in their honor, and songs that described loved ones are sung.


Much of the celebration in Topeka will take place in the NOTO Arts District, beginning with a street fair on October 27. The fair will include entertainment, food vendors, and special Dia de los Muertos items.


Other events include:

  • October 27 to November 5, a free art exhibit at Ballet Folklorico, 814 North Kansas Avenue will feature the juried art show and Ofrenda Gallery.     
  • October 28 concert reading of "Bones of Butterflies" by Marcia Cebulska at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library.   
  • November 1, Denis Definbaugh, guest lecturer, will visit Washburn University to discuss his experience photographing Dia de los Muertos celebrations in Oaxaca, Mexico for the past 10 years.  

  • The festivities will end November 2, during a special First Friday Art Walk. The special First Friday Art Walk will include poetry readings by Kansas City's Latino Writers Collective and Kansas State University's Women's Studies Program faculty and students.

For more information, please visit 

ARTSConnect Welcomes New Executive Director
Last month, Sarah Carkhuff Fizell joined ARTSConnect as the executive director. ARTSConnect is the organizer of the ARTSConnect First Friday Artwalk and hosts other special events in the community, focusing on connecting all members of our community to the abundant arts-related activities in our community.

Previously, Fizell operated owned an operated a public relations firm, Post Rock PR and for two years managed a wide array of clients. There Fizell worked on behalf of the Kansas Citizens for the Arts during the 2011-2012 legislative sessions to lead the advocacy and lobbying effort to restore public funding for the arts. 
Prior to this, she managed communications strategy, public relations and government affairs for Strategic Communications of Kansas, a lobbying firm. 

Fizell was born and raised in Topeka, leaving to attend college at the University of Kansas in 1996 and returning in 2007 after living in Washington, D.C. where she worked for the Kaiser Family Foundation. She holds a degree in Communications Studies from the University of Kansas. 

She and her husband, Jason are parents to a 19-month old daughter Astra Grace and are expecting their second in February 2013. 

Going forward, Fizell plans to engage in an aggressive fundraising campaign in order to reinstate community grants programs. With changes made to the availability of funding for other arts organizations in and around the community, ARTSConnect is uniquely positioned to being the process of helping increase the availability of operating a special funds project for the arts organizations within Shawnee County.

For more information about ARTSConnect visit
Little Free Libraries Popping Up in Topeka
A little free library may be coming to a neighborhood near you. Neighborhoods are collectively promoting and sharing the gift of reading in their piece of the community.
These little libraries are small boxes installed in yards for all in the neighborhood to get a book from the box and return it when finished. Neighbors can even donate books to the box. 
Little Free Libraries are filled with novels, fiction and non-fiction adult novels and children's books. 
Women Empowerment Inc. and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka are working with the community to build, paint and install 20 pre-made Little Free Libraries by November. 
Women Empowerment and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship partnered with Kimberly Daughtery, the first to place a Free Little Library in her yard, to assemble and paint the 20 pre-made Little Free Libraries. 
Groups including the Kansas Children's Discovery Center, Girl Scouts and Mulvane Arts Museum have volunteered to help paint boxes with colorful designs.
There are currently two Little Free Libraries and many more being painted and installed in Topeka. For those interested in putting a Free Little Library in their front year please visit 
For more information about Little Free Libraries visit
Downtown Topeka's Tower Run
On November 10 Downtown Topeka Inc. is challenging you to race up the Bank of America Tower, 543 South Kansas Avenue. 
The first race of its kind in Topeka will challenge runners to ascend the tallest commercial buildings in Northeast Kansas. No need to worry about the 
weather or the course, the only obstacle between start and finish is the 16 floors of stairs.
Competitors will race two at a time every minute until all competitors have begun the race. The top three times in each category will be declared winners.
When: November 10, 2012 | Registration at 8:00 a.m. | Race begins at 9:00
Where: Bank of America Tower, 534 South Kansas Avenue
Registration Fee: $30 covers t-shirt, refreshments and awards.
Free! Parking will be in the Bank of America Tower Parking Garage
To register for race, visit
Contact Us

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

The first ever, city-wide Dia de los Muertos celebration will begin later this month. 
For more information visit:

@ Great Overland Station
Oct. 10 to Nov. 11
@ Hummer Sports Park
October 13
7:00 a.m.
@ Washburn University, Stoffer Science Hall
October 13
7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
@ Heartland Park Topeka
October 17
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
@ Warehouse 414
October 18
7:30 p.m.
@ Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka
October 20 
7:30 p.m.
@ North Star Supper Club
October 21
8:00 p.m.
October 27
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
@ Topeka Zoo
October 27
9:00 a.m.
@ Ballet Folklorico Studio
Oct. 27 to Nov. 27
@ Topeka Civic Theatre
October 28
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
@ Shawnee North Community Center
November 3
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 

Looking for more events like this in Topeka? Visit