Archive for Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Winter preparations begin despite weather

November 7, 2001

At Greeley Gas, programs are being initiated to combat the high cost of heat during the winter months. In Basehor and Bonner Springs, public works departments are making preparations to keep roads passable.

And at several local charities, donations are expected to be as high as ever.

While the weather thus far has remained uncharacteristically warm, preparations for a long, cold winter are being made.

At the Basehor Public Works Department, employees are busy finishing up warm weather projects, but are anticipating another hard winter like 2000.

"I anticipate the same kind of weather as we have had in the past four to five years," said Gene Myracle, Basehor city superintendent.

Myracle said he would be purchasing sand and salt for the winter within the next two weeks.

To keep the roads in the city safe, the Public Works Deparmtent will be doing all the snow removal themselves this year. In previous years, some of the snow removal was contracted out.

The city will benefit in both cost and service by doing the work themselves this year.

"We will be able to do the more high impact areas," Myracle said. "We can be ready for a storm within an hour."

City officials said the city could expect to save several thousands of dollars by handling the snow removal in-house.

While Myracle expects another hard winter, Bonner Springs public works director Leroy Shipman said he doesn't know what to expect.

"I really don't have any idea at this time," Shipman said. "We are just going to wait and see."

Preparations for winter began on Oct.1 for the Bonner Springs Public Works Department, Shipman said.

To keep the roads safe during inclement weather, public works employees will be plowing main streets such as Morse, Nettleton, Front and Cedar first.

Another high priority for snow removal will be school bus routes, Shipman said.

While last winter was difficult for some residents when dealing with their natural gas bills, Greeley Gas has implemented two new programs to help ease that burden.

This year the company will put in effect the Greeley Energy Association Program (GEAP) and Project Deserve, which are designed to give poverty stricken residents an easier time dealing with their bills.

The GEAP program will funnel $2.1 million back to customers below the poverty level. Applicants will be screened through the American Red Cross.

Project Deserve is a similar project in which natural gas customers donate $1 a month to be funneled into Wyandotte, Johnson and Leavenworth counties to those in need.

And while Greeley Gas tries to do its part to keep residents warm during winter, one Leavenworth County man is also doing the same.

For the next two weekends, Leavenworth County resident Wayne Jackson and a host of other volunteers will begin work on Project Winterize.

Project Winterize, now entering its fourth year, places volunteers in the homes of Leavenworth County senior citizens that need help keeping their residence warm.

"I really emphasize the need for volunteers, you can never get enough volunteers," Jackson said. "This is a win-win situation. You help someone else by volunteering and you feel good about yourself by doing it."

Those interested in volunteering for the program can meet at Immaculata High School at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 or 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11.

The spirit of giving is also present in Bonner Springs and Edwardsville area during the holiday season.

Carol Geary, director of Vaughn-Trent Community Services, said many of the organizations donations come during the holidays.

"That's when it all comes it," she said.

Geary said the organization will participate in its annual Christmas baskets giveaway program, in addition to providing gift certificates to help parents purchase presents for their children at Wal-Mart.

"We need to work on getting new people interested in giving," Geary said.

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