Archive for Thursday, February 2, 2006

City to offer weather radios for sale to public

February 2, 2006

City Hall isn't being turned into a below-cost emporium, but the city will begin selling weather radios to the public for the discounted price of $27.50 plus tax.

Lansing City Council members, during a work session Thursday, Jan. 26, gave their tacit blessing to sale of 25 of the weather radios. If the radios sell out, the city will be able to obtain additional ones for the public.

The radios, which normally retail for around $60 are being made available through the Mid-America Regional Council. The radios can be programmed to go off only when the National Weather Service issues a storm watch or warning that includes Leavenworth or surrounding counties.

Council member Andi Pawlowski first thought about finding and offering the radios after hearing last spring from Chuck Magaha, Leavenworth County Emergency Preparedness director, who had told council members that storm sirens weren't intended to be heard in homes. In November, Pawlowski said, she saw news reports about tornadoes that in November had ravaged parts of Oklahoma. She saw reporters, she said, asking people whether they heard storm sirens.

"It occurred to me that if we're not supposed to be listening to them, we ought to be telling people what they should be listening to," Pawlowski said.

Council member Don Studnicka wondered aloud why the city needed to be involved in such a program.

"It's just a service," City Administrator Mike Smith said.

Pawlowski said she didn't wish a severe storm on the area, but said the radios offered a valuable service.

"I'd hate to think we had the opportunity to make these available and we didn't," Pawlowski said.

Council member Bob Ulin asked that whatever radios the city sells, it first program the radios to warn local residents of approaching storms in only surrounding counties.

"That's a real service that we can perform," Ulin said, noting unprogrammed weather radios sound warnings so often that owners wind up unplugging them.

Police Lt. Tony Waterman, who is coordinating the program for the city, said he hoped to get the radios before the end of the month so that residents could buy them before the start of the spring severe weather season.

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