Yet more construction along Oregon Road — if voters approve a pair of measures that would allow USD 257 to build new elementary and high schools. The USD 257 Board of Education has approved putting a school bond issue to a vote in November. Board members also agreed to purchase 95 acres of land just north of Oregon Road, near the Prairie Spirit Trail, if the school vote passes. According to the Register, in order for the project to proceed, both the Iola City Sales Tax issue on Tuesday’s ballot and the bond issue on the November ballot need to pass.
While there’s still some touch-up work to be done, KDOT has opened the new K-58 bridge over Dinner Creek in Coffey County to through traffic. The bridge is located 4½ miles west of Gridley and 13 miles east of Madison, just east of the Greenwood/Coffey county line. K-58 has been closed since late February for the bridge replacement project, with traffic carried on a state route detour. The new bridge is a concrete structure that has been raised above the historic high water level. It cost $422-thousand to build.
Road work next week in Woodson county. Next Wednesday the Kansas Department of Transportation plans to replace a culvert on K-105 in Woodson County. KDOT will close K-105 at the work zone, located approximately five miles south of Toronto, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. You’ll have to use alternate routes.If there is rain on August 6 the culvert replacement will be postponed until Thursday, Aug. 7, with the same daytime hours.
The Ashley Clinic in Chanute will have a walk-in immunization clinic for kids from birth to age 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. All patients must bring immunization records and insurance cards. The Ashley Clinic is located at 505 S. Plummer in Chanute. For more information, call the Ashley Clinic at 431-2500.
Time is winding down for Iola City Council members to decide what to do about the shortfall in EMS revenue, and how to pay for it. They have until Monday, August 11th to decide. That’s the night of their public hearing on the budget. At issue: whether to approve a 6-mill increase, as proposed by City Administrator Carl Slaugh to cover projected shortfalls in operating a countywide ambulance service. The Register reports if the hike is approved, the city’s levy would go from 38 mills to about 44.
Also on the table is a proposal to nearly double transfers from the city’s electric reserves — from $1.3 million this year to $2.7 million in 2015 — while the council will look closer at water, sewer and wastewater rates to ensure those funds remain solvent to pay for ongoing maintenance and improvement projects.
Iola City Council members have made a move many expected…putting the question of a half-cent sales tax to fund schools and infrastructure to the voters in the November election. The action was taken last night at their regular meeting. While part of the money would got for some general infrastructure needs int he city, the bulk would be turned over to USD 257 to finance new elementary and high school buildings. The action is the first in a series of decision by the council that may change the impact city government has on your wallet. Water and sewer rates are still being considered, and the city needs to do something about the EMS shortfall expected at year’s end.
East Kansas Agri-Energy plans to integrate renewable diesel production at its ethanol plant in Garnett. Renewable diesel will be made from the corn distillers oil already produced at the plant along with other feedstocks purchased on the market. Construction on the new facility will begin soon and will be complete in about 12 to 14 months. The plant will be able to produce three million gallons of hydrocarbon fuel per year, with the ability to double that capacity in the future. The plant currently produces some 40 million gallons of ethanol; 200,000 tons of the livestock feed distillers grains; and 5 million pounds of corn oil each year from more than 16 million bushels of locally-sourced corn.
Workers at Iola’s Gates production plant have new bosses today. They aren’t likely to be visible here for some time, but the executive team at Gate Corporaton is on the way out not that Blackstone Capital has finalized buying Gates Corporation. Gates is a leading global manufacturer of power transmission belts, fluid power products, and other critical components used in diverse industrial and automotive applications. Its production plant in Iola employs about 700.
The number of people seeking assistance through the Iola Food Pantry has increased the past couple of months, said the Rev. Tom Waters, who became panty director a month ago when the Rev. Phil Honeycutt left after years of managing the facility. Last week 19 families, representing 60 individuals, came for assistance, according to Waters. He expects numbers to pick up more this week. In addition to canned goods, the pantry could use an infusion of meat.
None of the issues noted by Allen County Regional Hospital Board trustees this week are major, but put together, they add up to some inconvenience. For example, the Internet bandwidth. Tuesday night. Administrator Ron Baker said the hospital’s bandwidth and redundancy is not where he”d like. Currently, the hospital uses two copper T1 cables, and they would like to at least double that capacity, he said. Other options include switching to fiber optics.
Other items from the construction punch list: some of the stonework on the side of the building may need to be replaced. There have been issues with the water circulating pump, which can affect hospital showers. There have also been issues with sewer gas coming into the building, but this does not appear to be necessarily a construction issue. The ventilation stacks on the roof are built to code, but some unknown factors occasionally cause gas pumped out to come back in through the intake system. Wind may be a factor. Maintenance is considering several options, including charcoal filters and one-way valves.