Archives for September 2011

More Votes Needed In Allen Schools Contest

Fewer than a hundred votes. That’s what it will take to get Allen County schools in the money in the U-S Cellular “Calling All Communities” contest we’ve been telling you about. If you haven’t picked up a card yet at U-S Cellular, there’s no obligation and you can vote every day. And time is running out. USD 257 Superintendent Brian Pekarek says there’s only a week to go and everyone’s help is needed. With fewer than a hundred more votes, Allen County schools could be in line for a fifty thousand dollar grant from U-S Cellular.

Student Wind Turbine Project Proposed at IHS

Iola High School students are pushing a wind turbine project that might go on land adjacent to the school. U-S-D 257 Superintendent Brian Pekarek says it’s important because by the year 2025 — when this year’s first graders graduate from high school — one-sixth of Kansas jobs will be linked to clean and renewable energy…

Planning Commission Rejects Hospital Rezoning Plan

A major setback in plans to build a new Allen County hospital in Iola. The city Planning Commission has voted overwhelmingly against a rezoning plan that would have allowed construction of the hospital along North Kentucky Street. The vote was five to one against. Some commissioners and neighborhood residents voiced objections to building a hospital in the area, saying it could devalue their property. There’s also concern that the plan, which would re-zone the area from residential to commercial, would limit new housing construction. Ambulance traffic issues were also raised. And there’s still the issue of whether the hospital should be built inside or outside the Iola city limits. Numerous areas have been proposed and rejected over the past several months. The Planning Commission vote constitutes a recommendation to the Iola City Council, which has the final say in the matter.

Iola Cleans Hydrants, Adds Chlorine To Water System

The semi-annual fire hydrant flushing in Iola will begin today and is anticipated to run through Monday, October 3rd. Flushing will be done on week days only and will be performed by the Iola Fire Department. The Utility Office cautions that the hydrant flushing process usually stirs up some rust particles from within the system. It says that these particles could appear in your home water. While they won’t harm your health, they could cause stains to your laundry. By the way, if you’re noticing a strong taste of chlorine in your water, it’s nothing to worry about. The water department is doing its annual “chlorine burnout”. That involves turning off ammonia and increasing chlorine levels in the water system to maintain a more uniform disinfection level throughout the water system. It’s going on for the next month or so.

Special Council Meeting On Brigham Leaves Questions

A sudden meeting of the Iola City Council yesterday that apparently concerned the abrupt firing of former City Administrator Judy Brigham left the approximately thirty people who attended scratching their heads. The Council called a meeting yesterday afternoon that included City Attorney Apt. Two half-hour closed-door sessions were held but no public announcement or rulings were made. Brigham was fired just weeks before her scheduled retirement. She’s now filed a grievance and the city has until tomorrow to resolve it. The Council has so far not revealed anything about why the firing happened or about it s timing.

Special Council Meeting Still In Progress

The controversial firing of longtime Iola City Administrator Judy Brigham just weeks before her scheduled retirement has many people wondering why it was done. The firing would significantly affect a number of benefits Brigham would otherwise have been entitled to had she retired. Brigham has filed a grievance and the Iola City Council has been holding a special meeting to discuss the firing with City Attorney Chuck Apt. The special meeting was requested by Mayor Bill Shirley. Much of it taking place behind closed doors. If any decision is made, that must be done in open session, however. That meeting still in progress at last report. Iola Radio news will bring you details as they become available.

Special City Council Meeting Today On Brigham Firing

The controversial firing of longtime Iola City Administrator Judy Brigham just weeks before her scheduled retirement has many people wondering why it was done. The firing would significantly affect a number of benefits Brigham would otherwise have been entitled to had she retired. Reasons for the firing were never publicly stated, which upset some in the community. Brigham has filed a grievance. Today, the Iola City Council will have a special meeting to discuss the Brigham firing with City Attorney Chuck Apt. The special meeting was requested by Mayor Bill Shirley and much of it is expected to take place behind closed doors. If any decision is made, that must be done in open session, however. That special City Council meeting will be at three o’clock this afternoon at the New Community Building at Riverside Park.

Fifty-Four Sign Up For Neosho Meltdown

Yesterday, we told you about the kickoff of the Southeast Kansas Meltdown over the weekend. Now we have the numbers: fifty-four people signed up in Neosho County for the start of the six-week program aimed at helping area residents eat and live healthier. The annual program will spread out to other communities soon, too. Thrive Allen County will kick off its participation the Meltdown October first at locations in Iola and other locations in the county.

Allen County Crash Friday

An injury crash in Allen county Friday sent a Neosho Falls girl to the hospital. Crash reports indicate 16-year old Olivia McCullough was traveling westbound on West Virginia Road just west of Old U.S. Highway 169 when she lost control of her 1996 Chevy Lumina. As it happened, her brother was in an eastbound pickup that was about to pass her. The driver swerved and avoided a collision with the Lumina, which rolled twice, ending on its wheels in the north ditch. Authorities say speed and loose gravel contributed to the crash. Olivia McCullough was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Lampe Takes Reins at Iola Chamber

A reception yesterday afternoon gave those in the community who didn’t already know her the chance to meet new Iola Chamber of Commerce executive director Sheila Lampe, along with city administrator Carl Slaugh.

Lampe, who lives in Piqua, says she enjoyed the past 2 and a half years working for Lynn Jenkins, but the up to 150 miles a day commute became tiring. When Jana Taylor resigned last month, Lampe says the opportunity to work promoting the community where she does most of her personal business, goes to church, and spends many of her off hours was too good to pass up. She started work for the Chamber yesterday.