Archives for March 2010

Altoona Man Dies from Burns

The man we told you about yesterday who had been burned in a vehicle fire Monday night has died. 87-year-old Willard Carter received burns on 90-percent of his body, according to Wilson county officials. He was airlifted to Wichita after his truck got stuck in a muddy field and caught fire. Sheriff’s Maj. Bill Green says somehow the grass caught fire under the truck. Green says Carter made it about 100 feet from the truck before he fell. He died several hours after arriving in Wichita.

"Uncharted Waters," One Legislator says of State Budget

Legislators will soon take a break to await numbers from state estimators before they finalize the budget. At a legislative forum in Neosho County this weekend, local leaders called the state’s financial condition unprecedented. “We’re in uncharted waters,” said Rep. Jerry Williams, who said this is the first time in memory that either the House or the Senate has not taken action on the budget for the next year this late in the session. Sen. Dwayne Umbarger said budget cuts had begun to affect state operations. He gave the examples of K-DOT, which will spend less on highway maintenance this year than it did in 1971, and public education, where K-12 schools have laid off 37-hundred statewide and colleges have cut over 1-thousand jobs.

US-169 Work to Cause Short Delays

Expect some delays along US-169 south of Iola as K-Dot gets underway on a concrete patching project along the highway. According to K-DOT the project will cut 169 to one lane of travel along that segment between 7:30am and 4:30pm Mondays through Thursdays for the next few weeks. The work starts at the Allen/Neosho county line and extends to the US-54 junction in Iola. Automatic flagging devices or pilot cars will direct one-lane traffic through the work zone. Delays should me no more than 15 minute, in most cases quite a bit less.

Residints, City Protest County Road Closure Plans

Neosho county commissioners are talking about closing parts of 230th Road north of Chanute, and those who live in the area aren’t happy. About a dozen of them showed up at the county commission Friday to protest. It wasn’t just people living in the area that would have to find a new way to town — Chanute city official say they need the road open in places to access an electrical mainline through the area and for wastewater treatment officials to access the river. County commissioners did not respond at the meeting, because it was not the scheduled public hearing. That formal hearing is April 23rd at 10am. Attendees were told the county does not plan to close anything east of the river in spite of a map sent to residents showing closures in that area.

Budget, Calendar Discussed at USD 257 Board Meeting

Local school officials have calculated the impact to both USD 257 and to your property taxes if the cuts proposed by House Republicans on Friday make it to final approval. Dr. Craig Neuenswander explains:

On another note, the district has set a tentative first day of school for this fall:

Walkabout on the Square Finds Good News

There’s a lot good about the Iola downtown square, but there are some challenges. Among the items noted at the recent walkabout: some of the sidewalk ramps don’t line up with the crosswalks. Some would like to see pavers or bike path around the square, but with Highway 54 passing right by, that’s a challenge maintenance-wise. One of the best pieces of news, from a downtown-renewal standpoint, is the quality of the curb and guttering, sidewalks, and lighting. Often those are the most expensive part of a renewal project, and there is little work needed in those areas. It was suggested that a series of benches around the square might offer those walking in downtown the opportunity to sit and chat from time to time.

Humboldt PC to Take Long-Term Look

The Humboldt Planning Commission is looking toward the future. Not the immediate future, but a more long-term look at potential future growth areas for the city. Next Wednesday, a consultant will lead the discussion in a public meeting of the planning commission. John Riggs has developed a map showing areas of potential growth in various zoning districts surrounding the outskirts of Humboldt. He sees possibilities for residential development on the north, northeast and south edges of town, and a few clusters of heavy industrial development possibilities, especially around the Highway 169 and tank farm Road interchange.

Flood Plain Clearing Work Continues

Officials are continuing their work to clear the Neosho River flood plain. Yesterday, the started tearing down the second of five homes to be demolished after being bought out in 2007. The remaining three homes — two just south of Iola and one near Humboldt — will take longer, as asbestos was found in each and a highly-technical, time-consuming removal of the asbestos must happen before the homes can be leveled. Most of the 200-thousand dollar cost to remove the homes is being borne by FEMA or the state; the county’s costs are paid by having county workers do the demolition.

Fatal Crash Charges Filed

Charges have been filed in relation to a fatality accident in Allen county last month. A 27-year old Iola man, Ramsey Gott,faced a charge of involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence. 25-year old Iola resident Nicole Sigg died in the single-vehicle crash northwest of Iola February 18th. As we reported at the time, Gott lost control of the vehicle at 600 Street and Texas Road. Two other passengers, Jessica Rogers and Steven Warden, were thrown from the vehicle. Their injuries were not life threatening. Gott called 911 and met officers at old U.S. 169. Gott is due in court in early April.

Next Vision Iola Task: Downtown Square

What do you think of the Iola downtown square? Never given it much thought? Tomorrow night before the next Vision Iola meeting, you’ll have the opportunity, as a walking tour of the square will be held to kick off the meeting. Dale Stafford, a designer with Landworks Studio of Olathe, which is consulting on the Vision Iola process, says the walking tour will allow participants to complete their own assessments of Iola’s downtown square and identify possible improvements. The meeting starts tomorrow night at 6 in the Senior Center.