Archives for June 2011

Sheriff asks for additional funds

Sheriff Tom Williams asked for an additional $214,000 for next year’s budget from county commissioners this week, which means the budget for the law enforcement center is now $1.725 million. More money is needed because of increased insurance costs, federal taxes to fund Social Security and Medicare and higher local contributions to the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System.

The Sheriff’s department has cut about $100,000 in discretionary spending, and raises are not happening. They’re also holding back on replacing vehicles, or being very frugal about it.

Fireworks violaters receive infractions, not misdemeanors

If you’re wondering whether you can shoot off fireworks in Iola, the answer is still no. The city council did act on the ban this week, just changing the violation to an infraction instead of a misdemeanor. Since a misdemeanor goes on a person’s permanent record, Iola Police Chief Jared Warner told council members some officers were reluctant to write ticktets. They’ll most likely write the tickets for repeat offenders and for those who are using them too agressively, like firing them from moving cars. The new ordinance puts in place a $100 maximum fine, plus court costs of $60.

Iola close to getting a new City Administrator

Iola City Council members have approved a job offer for Carl Slaugh to become the new city administrator. He would replace outgoing Iola City Administrator Judy Brigham. Slaugh told the Register he doesn’t have any particular concerns other than to help lead the effort to keep the city’s utility rates low and work on economic development. Birgham retires in September, and Slaugh would take over at that point. He has seven years of experience as a city administrator in other parts of the state.

Water rate hike back on the table

Water rates in Iola are getting a closer look amid concerns about a worsening water fund deficit. City council members Beverly Franklin, Steve French, Ken Rowe and Joel Wicoff will be part of a committee that will investigate ways to increase revenue while mitigating rate hikes for residents, commercial and industrial customers. The council turned down the idea of a water rate hike earlier this month and said they’d look for other ways to balance the water budget. The city has averaged a $300,000 annual deficit over the past several years. If there is a rate increase, it will be because all other avenues have been exhausted, according to the city.

Ten Fields of Marijuana Destroyed Near Mound City

Linn County officials believe a large marijuana growing operation near Mound City was the work of Mexican nationals. Marsha Sears reports…

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Media reports say authorities destroyed more than $100,000 worth of pot Monday in 10 fields in a wooded area near Mound City . Linn County Sheriff Barry Walker says the field was discovered months ago, but the growers apparently fled before Monday’s raid. One undercover officer says the operation was typical of others in which Mexican workers live at the fields 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He says the workers generally get paid about $200 a day and at the end of the year get a bonus. Walker says cameras were set up weeks ago in the hope that the workers would return. Kansas officials will continue to keep an eye out for similar fields in the area.

Dr. Neuenswander takes part in his last USD 257 meeting

Dr. Craig Neuenswander becomes the Director of Finance for the State Dept of Education this Friday, and that means last night was his final school board meeting as USD 257 Superintendent. The board reviewed the budget last night and is expected to adopt it next month. First, the good news.

The district will see a reduction in state aid, and Neuenswander shares what that means.

Another highlight from last night’s meeting, a big thank you.

Brian Pekarek takes over as Superintendent this Friday, July 1. Another change at the next school board meeting July 11th, Mark Burris and Jack McFadden join the board.

Brownback Declares Emergency From Train Derailments

Governor Sam Brownback issued two state of disaster emergency proclamations and three executive orders in connections to three unrelated train derailments that happened during last week in Chase, Dickinson and Shawnee Counties. Marsha Sears reports…

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On Sunday, June 18th, a derailment occurred on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad line near Cottonwood Falls, Gladstone Station Siding. On Monday, June 19th, a derailment occurred on the Union Pacific Railroad Yard in Herington. On Wednesday, June 22nd, a derailment occurred in the Union Pacific Railroad Yard in Topeka. The emergency proclamations allowed the Kansas Adjutant General’s office to activate the disaster response and recovery portions of the Kansas Response Plan for the derailments. Back on May 23rd, a 23 mile stretch of US 59 four miles south of Moran was closed following a derailment that erupted into a massive fire. A plume of smoke from the fire was visible as far west as Iola.

Legion baseball team having a great season

It was another good outing for the Iola American Legion Post baseball team. The Indians racked up their 17th straight victory Saturday afternoon, shutting out Ottawa 4-0. They followed that with a loss to the same team, but it was only the second loss of the season for Iola. They’ll take a 17-2 record to Chanute Tuesday and they’ll be back at home Thursday.

Kansas Highway Patrol seeking applicants

Ever thought about becoming a state trooper? You have the chance this year. The Kansas Highway Patrol says a grant will help train new troopers this year, which hasn’t happened recently because of the state’s money trouble. The last recruiting class graduated in August of last year and before that it was December of 2008. Candidates for the job go through a written exam, physical agility test, polygraph exam, background check, interview, physical and psychiatric tests. Recruits will go through 22 weeks of training starting in January. We have application information on iolaradio.com

A paper application must be post marked by July 29th, 2011 to: Janice Kelly, c/o KHP Recruiting, 122 SW 7th Street, Topeka, KS 66603

You may notice the bicyclists in Chanute today

Bicyclists with Bike the U.S. for MS are riding to Chanute today to raise awareness and money for MS research through Partners MS Center in Boston. It’s been a long trip. The cyclists begin in Virginia June 1 and they’ll bike all the way to California before ending July 31. Anyone that wants to come by can greet the riders in Chanute early this afternoon up until 5 p.m. at SantaFe Park by the locomotive. They especially like to chat with those who have MS and their family and friends. The Wilson County MS Support group sponsors the event along with the Neosho County MS Support Group.