People under the age of 21 will no longer be able to buy tobacco products of any kind in Iola. Discussion at yesterday’s city council meeting was intense. A new ordinance will take effect June 1st and it only affects the sale of tobacco. People over 18, but under 21 will still be legally allowed to use and possess tobacco products. The new ordinance will also include e cigarrettes and vaping products. The vote was 6-1 in favor of the ordinance. Iola becomes the third city in Kansas to enact such a ban.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he’s not second-guessing a new state law that would require the state’s college campuses to allow concealed weapons. The Republican says the law is in accordance with the Constitution’s Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. In 2013, Kansas lawmakers passed and Brownback signed a bill mandating that concealed weapons be allowed in nearly all public buildings unless adequate security is in place to prevent anyone from bringing in a weapon. Public colleges and universities were given until 2017 to come into compliance with that law.
Flags across Kansas will fly at halff-staff on Saturday in memory of longtime state Senator Ben Vidricksen, who died Monday at the age of 88. He was from Salina. Vidricksen was once chairman of the Senate Transportation and Tourism Committee, and a segment of I-135 through Saline county was dedicated in his name some years ago.
You may have receiuved a notice from the EPA recently about contaminated soil. The federal agency is resuming the process of cleaning up as many as 350 properties that have lead contamination. If testing shows your property has more than 800 parts per million of lead-soil contamination, the jobs will begin on September 21st. Local residents will not be charged for the work. Early 20th century industry in Iola included zinc and lead smelters that left behind dirty soil. About 700 properties have been identified as having lead contamination of more than 400 parts per million.
Residential facility Tara Gardens in Iola will close at the end of September. Many of the people who live there will reportedly have to move to Greystone Residential Car, according to the Register. Operations Manager Amy Wilcox-Burns said the building at 1110 E. Carpenter has had ongoing maintenance problems.
The state of Kansas is offering a tax amnesty program which will waive
penalties and interest on unpaid taxes if the tax debt is paid in full between Sept. 1st and Oct. 15th. The opportunity is available to Kansas taxpayers who owe individual or business tax debt with the state accrued before Dec. 31, 2013. The amnesty does not apply to matters that are in appeal. An application form, eligibility information and answers to frequently asked questions are available at www.ksrevenue.org/taxamnesty.html.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation based out of Madison, Wisconsin has caused Royster Middle School in Chanute to remove a painting of Jesus Christ that hung on the wall in the building. Superintendent Rich Profitt told the Register that they discussed the matter with legal and decided it was best to remove the famous picture called Head of Christ by Warner Sallman. A foundation spokesperson says the Supreme Court has made it very clear that signs and paintings like that “promote a religious message.”
KDHE has rescinded a boil water advisory for La Harpe city water system. The advisory was issued because of loss of pressure due to a water main break. Inadequate pressure may result in a loss of chlorine residuals and bacterial contamination.
Laboratory testing samples collected on Tuesday indicate no evidence of contamination, according to a release from KDHE, and all other conditions that placed the system at risk of contamination have been resolved.
While Iola City Council members did have to make changes to the budget for the upcoming year at their meeting Monday night, it wasn’t the changes they expected to make. The original thought was that last week’s approval would be invalidated because there were not four votes for the proposal, and they’d need to meet this week to get the right number of in-favor votes. But because an ordinance was not required, the 3 to 2 vote was valid.
The reason they needed to make changes is a massive increase in the cost of employee health injurance premiums. Next year health insurance will cost the city nearly 23-percent more than this year. The council approved an amendment to the budget that transfers an additional 160-thousand dollars from the gas utility fund to the general fund.
One person is dead following a crash on US 169 in Neosho County Saturday afternoon. According to the highway patrol, a southbound semi veered into the northbound lane near 130th Road about 12:30pm Saturday, hitting a northbound motorcycle. The truck continued into the northbound ditch and over a set of railroad tracks before coming to rest in a field. The wreck killed the motorcycle rider, 62-year old Mario Lopez of Cherryvale. The truck driver was not hurt.