Archives for March 2014

Pipeline/Rail Trail Crossing Status

Those who are working to convert more rails to trails in southeast Kansas may have a challenge ahead of them. The Western Sky Trail is a rails-to-trails conversion project that will connect Chanute and Fredonia on the former right-of-way of the South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad, over a distance of about 19 miles. The Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy currently owns the railbanked corridor, and is seeking individuals in Neosho and Wilson counties to help turn this raw route into a finished trail. Work for the Flanagan South Pipeline, which is being built now by crews along its route from Illinois to Oklahoma, crosses the trail near the Neosho/Wilson county line. A recent examination of the crossing by Kansas Cyclist showed the pipeline but had removed all the abandoned rail bed and it appeared at the time the construction crews had moved on without restoring the rail bed.

USD 257 Bond Issue Proposed

Residents of the area covered by USD 257 will have a special election day this year, after board members last week approved putting a $35 million bond issue before voters on June 24th. While $35-million is no chump change, the bond issue could have been for more than $60-million of the board had opted to build completely new buildings at all grade levels on a single site. Instead members agreed to make about $10-million worth of upgrades and improvements at Iola High School and the middle school, while building a new K-through-6th grade facility at a new location. It would replace the current elementary schools and move sixth graders out of the middle school.

Iola To Discuss Comprehensive Plan

Iola City leaders are at work on revisions to the city’s comprehensive plan, a document that guides city efforts in many areas. An up-to-date plan is needed for many federal and some state grants, and it’s required to be reviewed every five years. The Planning Commission has determined some changes to the plan are necessary, and will be holding a public hearing on the proposal as required by state law. It’s Wednesday, April 16th at 6pm in the Park Community Building. The meeting is open to everyone.

Ag Land Value

Higher commodity prices have been to the advantage of more than just Allen County farmers. The county, school districts and community college also will benefit. The REgister reports Allen County’s farmland value has increased overall by 8.9 percent, to almost $34-million. While that is the land’s value — based on use — the increase won’t mean as much to assessed valuation, the figure used by local governmental units when they figure taxes for budgets. That’s because farmland is assessed at 30% of that use value.

Lack Of Clean-up Service To Close Area Rest Stops

KDOT has announced the temporary closing of the US 54 rest stop near Toronto and the US-75 rest area north of Yates Center starting Tuesday. The contract with the company that currently maintains the two rest areas expires Monday and the agency is closing them until a replacement janitorial vendor can be contracted.

One Business Damaged In Colony Fire Reopens

After an early December fire destroyed two Colony businesses, Colony Community Diner and Convenience store manager Brenda Dowling made a promise to the community: the diner would be reopen within 90 days. It was an ambitious goal and the Anderson County Review reports that she nearly made it.  Dowling told the review she probably should have waited another week to deal with problems with the electrical system and the grill. A new building for the grocery store, which was destroyed in the fire,  is now under construction.

When Tornadoes Come Calling, Don’t Use ACRH As A Shelter

Though today will not bring the risk of tornadoes here, it won’t be long before we’ll be talking about that risk. The lack of a basement at the new Allen County Rgional Hospital means it doesn’t have room to be used as a public shelter the way the old hospital was. The hospital has a specially reinforced safe room in the case of threatening weather, which accommodates 75.  That’s really just enough for the patients and staff on busy days. Storm shelters in Iola are at Lincoln and McKinley elementary schools and the Bowlus Fine Arts Center.

Survey Results: Concerns About Building Age, Wiring, But Still A B Overall.

Despite concerns expressed by over 125 respondents to a recent phone survey, the quality of Iola’s school buildings in the eyes of district partons would get a solid B. That was the grade given by 42-percent of those who responded to the phone poll. of the people grading buildings C, D, or F, 129 said the buildings are old and rundown, 21 said the wiring is outdated, 15 had issues with heating and air conditioning systems, and 13 mentioned other issues. On the plus side, parents grade the Iola district highly for safety, with an A result, and also awarded A’s to school principals, teachers the school board and superintendent for their performance. 

Friends Of Prairie Spirit Trail Event Is Tonight

The Friends of the Prairie Spirit Trail will host the 18th annual Prairie Spirit Trail celebration this evening at 6 at the community building in North Lake Park in Garnett. The celebration includes a buffet dinner at 6:30 and a silent auction. The event is the only annual fundraiser for the group, which uses the funds for trail enhancement projects. Admission to the celebration is a suggested $10 donation.

One Hurt In Yates Center Crash

The Kansas Highway Patrol reports one person was hurt in a crash yesterday afternoon in Yates Center. 86-year old Billy Giesy was taken to Coffey County Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained when he rear ended an SUV. Troopers report the occupants of the SUV, 53-year old Rhonda Phillips and 59-year old Marilyn Lewis, both of Yates Center, were not hurt. The accident happened on the east side of Yates Center, at the intersection of Mary and Green Streets, just after 1pm.