Archives for May 2011

City Council to address mayor’s responsibilities under new format

Iola City Council members have much to do under the new, revamped system. Among the things they’ll look at — whether to reshape the mayor’s and city administrator’s responsibilities; if the terms of the council members should be changed, or whether elections should be staggered. Since there’s so much, they’re expected to proceed slowly. The mayor’s responsibilities seem to be a top priority.

Broken Rail Blamed for Monday Derailment

It’s been determined that it was a broken rail that caused Monday’s train derailment south of Moran. The accident closed a 23-mile stretch of US 59 and forced evacuations in the area. Things didn’t really return to normal until Wednesday or so, but it will take another few weeks for the wreckage to be totally cleared. The broken track will be taken to a Union Pacific lab to be studied in further depth…things like the density of the track to the temperature at the time of the accident. Even the ground’s moisture level.

Sen. Moran to Host Town Hall in Iola Memorial Day

If you want an opportunity to honor our veterans Monday and participate in our governmental process, you can attend a Town Hall Meeting with Senator Jerry Moran.

The meeting will be held from 1:30 to 2:30 PM at the American Legion Hall in Iola.

Click It or Ticket

This will be a big weekend on the roads, and there are things to watch out for. The Click it or Ticket campaign is going on so law enforcement officers are enforcing seat belt use. Memorial Day weekend is also a typically dangerous one on the roads where drunk driving is concerned.

On that note, Kansas will require first-time drunken driving offenders to use ignition interlock devices on their vehicles, starting in July. Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill this week that also requires the state to set up a central database of driving-under-the-influence cases to track of offenders’ histories. Alcohol-related traffic deaths in Kansas have jumped recently, while they’ve dropped nationwide. Current law suspends a first-time DUI offender’s license for 30 days and allows a judge to order use of an ignition interlock for 330 days after that. The new law will mandate 180 days’ use after the suspension.

Broken Rail Blamed for Monday Derailment

It’s been determined that it was a broken rail that caused Monday’s train derailment south of Moran. The accident closed a 23-mile stretch of US 59 and forced evacuations in the area. Things didn’t really return to normal until Wednesday or so, but it will take another few weeks for the wreckage to be totally cleared. The broken track will be taken to a Union Pacific lab to be studied in further depth…things like the density of the track to the temperature at the time of the accident. Even the ground’s moisture level.

Missouri Humane Society Crew Dispatched To Joplin

Scenes of pets and animals being pulled from the wreckage in Joplin have been broadcast nationwide. At the request of the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, a fifteen member crew from the Humane Society of Missouri has been dispatched to the area. Jeane Jae (jeen jay), Vice President of Communications for the Humane Society of Missouri says the best way people can help right now is by financial donations.

To make a donation, go to hsmo.org.

Iola Fire Department Employees Dispatched to Joplin and Moran

The people of Joplin have not only had to deal with the devastating destruction of a tornado, but have also dealt with driving rain, hail and lightning in their recovery efforts. Yesterday, two police officers were struck by lightning. That has not stopped rescue workers from going to the site. Iola Assistant City Administrator Cory Schinstock has reported that some of Iola’s own have gone to help.

Schinstock says the city is currently working at half staff with the added dispatch of two fire department employees to Moran as part of the Haz Mat Response Team for Iola. He says the city will be covered and that all of the employees will be brought home, if needed.

Train As a Volunteer Now Before the Next Disaster Strikes

When a disaster strikes, the first instinct of any human is to help. In the case of the Joplin tornado, Emergency Management officials had to request that people simply stay away while those trained in rescue could move in. Jessica Willingham, Chief Operating Communications Officer for the St. Louis American Red Cross says it pays to be ready in advance.

Officials have warned that this tornado season has only begun and the hurricane season is still to come. Both are expected to record breaking in the amount and strength of storms.

Financial Donations Requested For Joplin

Officials are warning that the massive tornado outbreak in the south and the devastating destruction in Joplin, MO is only the beginning and more is to be expected. According to Jessica Willingham, Chief Communications Officer for the St. Louis American Red Cross, when their volunteers respond to any disaster, they must be able to have supplies in hand.

You can also text a ten dollar donation to 90999. Cell phone carriers are not charging extra fees for those texts so all of the money goes to the Red Cross.

People Are Asked To Stay Away From Joplin

As the death toll rises in Joplin, people are spontaneously heading to the area to help. Jessica Willingham, Chief Communication Officer for the St. Louis Area American Red Cross says that Emergency Management is asking people to stay away.

According to Willingham, the infrastructure damage is so severe; it is difficult for those that are already there to get in to help. Financial donations are needed the most. To make a contribution, call 1-800-Red-Cross or go to redcross.org.