Archives for July 2013

Commission Delays Pipeline-Related Decision

Allen County commissioners are waiting until the end of the month top decide whether to accept a recommendation from the county’s zoning board to allow Enbridge a conditional use permit to build a pump station southeast of Humboldt. Presumably, they are as interested in what the company has to say at tonight’s public meeting on the pipeline as other area residents. The station would be part of a large oil-carrying pipeline Enbridge intends to build through eastern Kansas and Allen County.

Monarch Cement, which owns land adjacent to a 40-acre tract Enbridge purchased for the station, opposed the station’s construction, in fear it would limit the company’s quarrying of rock. Construction of the new pipeline, which will run from Illinois to Cushing, Okla., will start later this month, zoning board members were told. At hearings this week in Missouri, Sierra Club and some local government representatives expressed concern about the pipeline’s environmental impact.

EMS MErgerDetails

We now know what a merged Iola/Allen County EMS would look like if all parties involved accept the four-page agreement shown to city commissioners this week. The five-year deal would start at midnight January first, when Iola would take possession, but not ownership, of the county ambulances and other equipment. As the vehicles and equipment wear out, the city would replace them, with the county buying one vehicle every other year.

All the vehicles, including the current city ambulances, would be labeled Allen County EMS.The service would retain its paramedic-level, Type-1 service designation. Current county EMS employees and managers would become City employees January 1st. Minimum staffing of the combined agency would be cut slightly — from 37 now to 33, a reduction of four full-time positions. Paramedics and EMTs would be subject to a review process around quality of care.

If you are transported in an ambulance, expect to get a bill from the county, which will handle billing and collections. Up to 3/4 of a million dollars annually will flow from the county to the city to pay for the joint service. Formal approval of the plan may follow a special meeting to discuss it in more detail.

Woodson County Car Crash

A crash Friday night in Woodson County injured a Humboldt man. It happened just after 10pm at US-54 and Elk Road. Troopers say Neil Hartwig, Sr. was eastbound on US-54 when he struck 6 head of loose cattle. The 1994 Chevy Caprice went into the north ditch into a field about 200 feet, coming to rest upright on its wheels. Hartwig was taken to Neosho Regional Medical Center for evaluation of his injuries. Inez Proper of Chanute, who was riding in the car, was taken to Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

The Long Road to Demolishing a Totaled, Vacant Home

Iola city officials are as frustrated as residents at the lack of progress being made in eliminating substandard housing in the community. But the legal process takes time. The budget has room for only three to five homes to be demolished each year, according to a report in the Register. That costs in the neighborhood of $16-thousand a year.

Assistant City Administrator Corey Schinstock says the council, which chose not to increase budget funds for demolitions during its June 24 meeting, has seen the need for more razing of homes in Iola. “The council has been very vocal,” Schinstock said. “But, it’s always about money. It’s hard to get the funds to get things done without raising the mill levy.”

Redmond Reservoir to Store More Water

Good news for recreation, and for the water supply for towns downstream from John Redmond Reservoir…including Iola. State officials have earned approval from the feds to raise the water level in John Redmond by two feet. Officials had sought the increase because water usage from the lake was leaving it depleted in the highest-use months. They’ve been working to get this for more than seventeen years. The basis for the change is the amount of sediment that drops out of the water at lower pool levels.

Another way to reduce sedimentation at the lake or increase storage is through stream bank restoration projects. Many of these have been or are currently taking place along the Neosho and Cottonwood Rivers to help decrease the amount of new sediment delivered downstream to John Redmond. Dredging will start next year to deepen the lake.

Pavement Testing Continues

Pavement strength testing is continuing in Allen and adjacent counties today. Through tomorrow, KDOT will run tests of pavement strength on U.S. 169, U.S. 59 and U.S. 166 in Allen, Neosho and Labette counties. The testing crew uses a falling weight deflectometer (FWD), a device equipped with a series of weights that checks the strength of asphalt pavement. KDOT conducts FWD tests every year on different sections of the state highway system. A pilot car operation will be used for traffic control at each testing site. Motorists will experience delays of 15 minutes or less.

Fireworks Safety

Fireworks have been for sale in the area since last Thursday, and as the fourth of July approaches, Iola Police are issuing reminders about fireworks safety and the rules for using fireworks in Iola. Remember that sky rockets, bottle rockets, roman candles and mortars are all illegal for use in the city. Fireworks discharge is legal in Iola between 9am and 11pm today through Wednesday; on Thursday the evening is extended to midnight. We’ve all heard the fireworks safety rules multiple times, but they bear repeating: when it comes to what’s legal where, the rule is to shoot them where you buy them. Even sparklers are dangerous, reaching nearly 2-thousand degrees and easily burning young childrens’ hands. Children should always be directly supervised by an adult, and you should keep a hose or bucket of water nearby and immediately douse a malfunctioning firework as well as doing the same with all the shot fireworks before throwing them away.