Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2007

Deadly intersection on 24-40 to be upgraded

April 19, 2007

Leavenworth County commissioners have approved a request by the city of Basehor to grind rumble strips and install two streetlights at the scene of an accident that killed a Tonganoxie teenager earlier this year.

Commissioners on Monday gave their consent to allow the rumble strips on 158th Street and two streetlights near the intersection of 158th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40.

"I don't think any kind of improvements at that intersection can hurt," said Dennis Bixby, the father of 19-year-old Amanda Bixby, a Tonganoxie resident who was killed in a Valentine's Day accident at the intersection.

Dennis Bixby noted the commission's approval comes as a sort of birthday present for his daughter. Amanda Bixby's 20th birthday would have been Tuesday.

Two fatalities have occurred at the intersection in the past three years, according to information provided by former Kansas Department of Transportation engineer Mick Halter.

Amanda Bixby was headed home from work Feb. 14 at Nebraska Furniture Mart, driving west on U.S. Highway 24-40 at 158th Street. The Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office said Ricardo De-Leon Flores, 20, Lansing, the driver of a northbound Toyota 4Runner, failed to yield at the stop sign. His car struck a Dodge Durango driven by Bill Nichols, Basehor, and then it struck Amanda's Ford Taurus. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"That's a dangerous intersection," Dennis Bixby said. "I got a card from some people over in Lawrence whose daughter was killed in an accident there, and I know there was a school bus accident there."

KDOT will supply funding for the rumble strips, and the installation of the streetlights will paid for by the city of Basehor, said Gene Myracle Jr., Basehor city superintendent,

Also Monday, the commission:

¢ Had no objection to applying public works' funds that will be matched in-kind from the Mid-America Regional Council for a road sign inventory, a bridge scour analysis and a traffic count to be completed this summer.

According to Public Works Director Bill Green, MARC will cover 80 percent of the costs and the county will cover the rest.

¢ Heard a quarterly report from Council on Aging Director Linda Lobb.

Lobb's request for the purchase of a midsize sedan to be used for transporting area seniors around the county and to doctor's visits in the Kansas City metro area was tabled to seek more competitive pricing.

Commissioners also questioned data included on revisions made for a state grant request that supports the Council on Aging's meals on wheels program.

"We have to be right on the data that we provide," Commission Chairman J.C. Tellefson told Lobb.

An annual recognition luncheon for volunteers who help with the council's meals on wheels, inter-generational, close-knit and stocking stuffers programs will be Friday at the Council on Aging office.

¢ Heard a quarterly report from Debbie McRill, Leavenworth County's Solid Waste director.

McRill discussed the reorganization of personnel at the transfer station; contractual negotiations with Hamm Sanitary Landfill, the disposal company used by solid waste; budgetary issues; the bid process for a solid waste trailer and issues with the inmate cleanup crew.

¢ Heard a quarterly report from Emergency Medical Services director Jamie Miller.

Miller updated the board on staffing issues, financial progress and statistics on call numbers for January and February.

Most importantly, Miller explained that the department has three vacant paramedic positions that must be filled.

"Since we are short, the administrative staff has been manning vehicles at least in the first 12 hours of the day," Miller said. "Everyone has been working tremendous amounts of overtime, with lots of staff volunteering their time. They're all pitching in."

¢ Voted, 3-0, to allow Special Buildings Director Tim Goetz to proceed with renovations planned on EMS station 9102 in Tonganoxie. The county will purchase vinyl flooring from Midwest Carpet and Flooring in Basehor and will send out bid requests for cabinetry work at the station.

Goetz also updated the board on a potential storage facility for emergency management equipment to be located at the county shop.

At its meeting Thursday, March 12, the commission:

¢ Signed off on a textile and electronic waste facility to be located at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth.

The program, run through UNICOR Prison Industries Inc., will dispose of computers, televisions and other electronic devices in a manner consistent with the state's solid waste management plan, Leavenworth County Solid Waste Director Debbie McRill said.

"This is not a money-maker for us by any means," County Commissioner Dean Oroke said. "But it relieves us in our responsibility of removing this waste."

Oroke said that after the program was established, it would begin taking computers from the public for disposal.

¢ Approved a request for proposals for right-of-way acquisition by Public Works Director Bill Green for property along 166th Street from Evans Street to Metro Avenue.

The board also met with Green and a recently terminated Public Works employee in executive session to discuss departmental personnel issues.

¢ Heard a quarterly report from Human Resources director Diane Collins.

According to Collins, the county hired 27 employees and lost 16 between Jan. 1 and March 31, bringing the total number of county employees to 413.

Collins also discussed department's budget and requested that the county accept membership into the National Association of Counties (NACo), a national organization that provides counties with prescription drug coverage, lobbyists, networking and training.

The board approved membership, 3-0, on a trial basis for one year.

¢ Also heard a quarterly report from the county Noxious Weed Department, which is now administered by the Public Works Department.

"We're making progress," said John Behne, the newly appointed noxious weed supervisor. "We're overhauling all equipment that is salvageable."

The board unanimously approved a request by Public Works deputy director Mike Spickelmier to post advertisements on eBay for two trucks and three flatbed trailers that are in disarray.

In the quarterly report, officials also discussed storage for the department's records dating back to 1936, improvements on the roof of the weed building and the possibility of working half-days on Saturdays to provide more equipment rental service to the public.

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