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Commissioners seek input from other counties

Dickinson County workers share lessons learned after tornado

Staff writer

Having a full-time emergency management director paid off for Dickinson County in June 2008 when a tornado struck Chapman, Dickinson County Administrator Brad Homman told Marion County commissioners Monday.

Just a few years before the tornado, the county had a part-time emergency management director to meet state requirements, he said.

“I shudder to think of the response we would have had,” Homman said.

County commissioners invited Homman and Dickinson County Emergency Management Director Chancy Smith to speak while the commission considers what to do with a vacancy left when Michele Abbott took a job in Hutchinson.

Communication was important in the response to the tornado. About 1,500 volunteers arrived at Chapman in the days following the tornado, and they needed direction.

Residents displaced by the tornado also needed to know what was happening. To head off rumors and spread information, there were daily community meetings at the city park.

Networking before the disaster also paid dividends, Smith said. He was able to rely on contacts with specialized knowledge whom he met during training.

In Kansas, tornadoes are just a matter of time, Homman told commissioners.

Rural Goessel roads discussed

Goessel USD 411 Board of Education member James Wiens, Superintendent and Transportation Director John Fast, and Goessel High School Principal Marc Grout told commissioners they were concerned about the condition of 90th and 120th roads near Goessel.

They outlined safety and economic concerns. A student rolled her vehicle Nov. 1 while taking an alternate route to school because of loose gravel on 120th Road, Fast said.

Fast showed commissioners a map of the district’s bus routes. The east bus route is heavily clustered around 120th Road.

“2012 is a long time to wait for that road,” he said.

Economically the roads are important to Goessel because they connect the town to other important roads, specifically Indigo Road to the east and roads into Moundridge to the west.

If the roads remain in rough condition, the district could see attendance decrease as district residents who work in Moundridge move.

The roads were converted from blacktop to gravel so Road and Bridge Department can solidify the road bases before sealing the roads again.

Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Herzet said the roads will improve as moisture and traffic cause loose gravel to settle and compact.

The stretch of 90th Road from K-15 to the McPherson County line was scheduled to be resealed in 2010, but the department ran out of time, Herzet said.

In other business:

  • A Transportation Revolving Loan Fund loan from Kansas Department of Transportation was approved for asphalt overlay on 330th Road from K-15 into Tampa. No details of the loan or construction are finalized, Herzet said.
  • Herzet met with commissioners in closed session for five minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Shane Rives of 810 Limestone Road, rural Peabody, discussed graveling a mile of Limestone Road from his house to U.S. 50 with the commission. No decision was made.
  • The county’s insurance company is addressing a property damage claim. A pothole in a county road allegedly damaged someone’s vehicle.
  • Fire District 10, which includes Burns and parts of Marion and Butler counties, has received a loan for a new fire station in Burns.
  • James Druse Jr. was hired to be an Equipment Operator III in Road and Bridge Department for $2,589 per month.
  • Troy Schmidt transferred from being a custodian to Equipment Operator I in Road and Bridge Department for a salary of $1,986 per month.
  • Commissioners reviewed a letter from the Hillsboro Free Press regarding posting public notices on the company’s website.
  • Health Department will purchase a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe with 39,000 miles on it for $13,500 to tow a department trailer. The vehicle it will replace has 115,741 miles on it and will be sold on an online auction.

The next commission meeting will be Nov. 22. Commissioners will be at Kansas Association of Counties annual conference Monday.

Last modified Nov. 10, 2010

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