Archives for May 2010

Anderson County Wreck Kills Teen Passenger

A single-vehicle crash near Colony yesterday has killed a teenager. 13-year old Mary Jane Robertson was a passenger in the car driven by Connie McCormick. Highway Patrol records indicate both are from Verona, Missouri, but according to the Chanute Tribune Robertson is a Chanute resident, as is her aunt, McCormick. Highway Patrol troopers say shortly after 8am yesterday, McCormick was southbound on highway 169 north of Colony and went off the right side of the road, vaulting over a culvert at 700 road and flipped twice end-over-end. Robertson was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected out the back window. She died at the scene and was taken to Ferris Feuerborn Funeral Home, according to the crash report. McCormick was taken to Allen County Hospital with what the patrol calls “disabling” injury.

Click It or Ticket Starts Today

Iola police will be taking part in the early-summer “Click It or Ticket” seat belt usage campaign across Kansas. The effort started today and runs through June 6th. During that time, extra patrols will be on the streets and roads, with officer and dispatcher overtime paid in part by a grant form the Kansas Department of Transportation. Iola Police Chief Jared Warner says more than 140 agencies statewide are joining the effort. 69-percent of the people who died in traffic crashes in Kansas last year were not buckled in.

LaHarpe Crash Hurts 4

Highway Patrol troopers say four people were taken to the hospital following a two-vehicle crash in LaHarpe yesterday morning. Troopers say Nora Lewis of LaHarpe was northbound on Jefferson about 9:30am and t-boned an eastbound van in the intersection of 9th and Jefferson. Lewis and two of her three children in her van were taken to Allen County Hospital. The fourth child young enough to still be in a booster seat and was not injured. The driver of the other van, Robert Arnett of LaHarpe, as not hurt, but his passenger, Carrie Arnett, who was on the side where the impact occurred, was taken to Allen County Hospital to be checked out. None of the people taken to the hospital were listed with disabling injuries.

Atea Unemployment Picture Improves

The unemployment numbers for April are in, and officials say all area counties improved from Marh to April. Most are also better than year-ago numbers. While Coffey continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the area, at 5.6%, Allen and Bourbon counties are close behind at 6.6% and 6.8% respectively. In Allen county that compares to 7.4% last month and is more than one-percent better than last year’s rate of 7.9%. Rates for other area counties: Wilson county, 9.4%, down from 9.9% in March and 10.5% last April; Woodson county, 7.1%, down form 7.7% in March and 8.6% last year; Neosho county was nearly stable – 8.3% last month, 8.7% in March, and 8.6% in April, 2009. In Anderson county, the jobless rate stood at 7.2%, down from 8% in March and down slightly from last year’s 7.4%

In a statement, Governor Parkinson said, “we’re seeing positive signs of job creation. In the past few months, we’ve seen our economy stabilizing, and in April we’ve experienced actual job growth. Notably, that growth has been in the private sector. While there are still too many Kansans without a job, this is a good sign that our efforts to put Kansans back to work are beginning to materialize.” Tyler Tenbrink, Labor Economist with the Kansas Department of Labor, explains:

Statewide, the April 2010 unemployment rate was 6.3 percent, down from 6.9 percent in March and unchanged from April 2009. Three of the 11 major industries in Kansas reported over-the-year job gains in April, with the highest increase in construction. This is the first month the construction industry has reported over-the-year job gains since June 2008.

ACH Forum Dates, Places Set

Dates have been set for the public forums concerning the future of Allen County Hospital. Those forums, to be conducted by the advisory committee prior to a recommendation being made next month to county commissioners on whether to build new or remodel, are scheduled within the first 7 days of next month. The initial forum is Tuesday night, June 1st, in Iola at St. John’s Catholic Church-Parish Hall. The second, in Humboldt on Thursday, June 3rd, is at the Humboldt Public Library. The final forum will be in Moran, Monday June 7th at the Senior/Community Center. Each forum runs from 7 to 9 pm.

New Drive-In — Temporarily — at Iola Auto Parts

It sounded a bit like an explosion. That’s how several customers of Iola Auto Parts described the sound when a car crashed through one of the front windows of the business on south State Street around noon on Thursday. No one was injured in the accident, but it did cause quite a mess, spilling a number of paint cans off of shelves. Employees got that cleaned up in the hours following the accident, and workers had the outer wall and window frame repaired by late afternoon. The parts store remained open the entire time and continued to sell products. They will have to wait a few more days to finally get all the glass replaced.

La Harpe Crash Hurts Two

Two people were taken to Allen County Hospital following a crash last night in La Harpe. Highway patrol reports indicate 46-year old Dennis Womelsdorf of La Harpe was injured in the crash, which happened just before 8:30pm south of highway 54 on Monroe Street. Troopers say Womelsdorf was southbound on Monroe and crossed into the northbound lane, hitting a motorcycle head-on. The driver of that motorcycle, 30-year old Anthony Hulett of Iola, was also taken to ACH by ambulance. His passenger, 27-year old Kyria Ruby of La Harpe, refused medical treatment at the scene.

NECC President is Job-Hunting

The President of Neosho County Community College, Vicky Smith, is one of three finalists for a similar job in Illinois. Smith was at McHenry County College on Tuesday for a public visit and interview sessions. Trustees at the college interviewed a second candidate, from Iowa, yesterday, and the third finalist, from Illinois, is to be there today. Each finalist is visiting the campus this week to meet with administrators, faculty, students and community members before the board makes a selection in mid-June.

USD 257 Board: 5th Graders Recognized, Budget Decisions Neared

While budget may have been the most urgent issue discussed during this week’s USD 257 Boar d of Education meeting, there was time for some good news, too. Superintendent Dr. Craig Neuenswander explains:

There’s good news on the budget front, with the projected deficit being half what it was originally thought to be. Still USD 257 Board of Education members have to deal with a 415-thousand dollar budget hold, more than half of it caused by declining enrollment. Board members are closer, but have not locked in, the needed cuts — mostly in teaching positions direclty related to the enrollment loss.

Storms Bring Rain, LIttle Else to SE Kansas

The round of storms anticipated to come through in the late evening hours last night came though much later, departing our area only hours ago. By the time they got here , the storms were most just soakers, but did prompt one round of warnings early this morning. Shortly after 2am, there was a single report of potentially damging hail, by a residnet a few miles south of Fredonia who estimated hailstones of 1.75 inches, or golf ball size. That’s the only severe-level hail or wind report received by the National Weather Service anywhere in soutehast Kansas with this round of storms.