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Lightning spurs airport upgrade

The Iola Register

Could lightning striking the fuel station at the Allen County airport be a blessing in disguise? According to public works director Mitch Garner, maybe so.

The fuel station was struck by lightning sometime last week damaging a pump, requiring $4,750 in repairs. Problem was, the pump was so old that the parts were nearly obsolete. Garner estimates the pump is 18-20 years old.

However, if the county were to upgrade the pump, insurance would pick up just over 80% of the bill. A new system would cost the county $11,869, with insurance paying $9,500 of the bill.

Garner said the pump still works, but the mechanism that takes credit cards does not, meaning gas cannot be purchased unless someone is there.

Commissioner Jerry Daniels said the self-service feature is the reason the airport is so popular.

Commissioner Bill King added that when they first started selling fuel at the airport, the county sold about 5,000 gallons per year. “When we went to the automated system out there we went all the way up to 100,000 gallons a year,” King said. “It’s a big deal. It makes sense to upgrade.”

Garner said that the credit card machine allows pilots to come by at night and has to be fixed one way or the other.

Commissioners agreed to the $11,869 proposal from PB Hoidale Company Inc., based out of Chanute.

Garner reported that a technician will be in next week to look over the entire fuel system, which is older than the pump.

In other news, Garner said county workers are busy chip sealing this week and will be looking to mow roadsides in coming weeks.

Daniels said that he has received a few complaints about high Johnson grass along county roads and mentioned that mowing would help the sheriff’s office out with deer season coming up.

“High grass makes it impossible for motorists to see a deer that is about to run across the road. The sheriff’s department works several wrecks involving deer at that time of the year,” Daniels said.


DANIELS ASKED commissioners to consider giving a contribution to Biblesta. He said organizers had approached him on several occasions, noting that they had given $1,500 to Farm City Days.

King asked for another week to think about it, but Daniels said that time was of the essence.

“I would really like to get it out of the way right now,” Daniels said. “It’s coming up in two and a half weeks, otherwise I would put it off.”

Bruce Symes made a motion to contribute $1,500 to Biblesta, with the understanding of setting a set rate to contribute to other city festivals within the county. Symes said they would also need to set out rules for what qualifies as a festival.

The $1,500 contribution was passed with a 3-0 vote.


COMMISSIONERS requested county counselor Robert Johnson to contact Koehn Construction — winning bidder for two ambulance barns to be built in Humboldt and Moran — about a complaint they received from a local electrician.

Daniels said the local company complained that they had been asked to do the electric work on both ambulance barns, only to find out Koehn Construction had backed out and given the job to a company out of Independence.

“While we do ask that the company award bids locally, it is up to them to give out jobs,” Daniels said. “But I do think we are paying them enough money that you could call them and ask what happened?”

Commissioners awarded the contract to the Fredonia-based company for $698,000 back in July.


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