Proposed merger focus for Stewart



March 29, 2013 - 12:00 AM

A merger of Iola and Allen County emergency medical services is Scott Stewart’s focus as his apparent re-election to Iola’s City Council draws near.
He and Nancy Ford, both incumbents, are the only candidates for the First Ward seat on the council. The candidate drawing the most votes will serve four years, the other two.
“That’s what I’m actively involved with,” said Stewart of the proposed merger.
He and Joel Wicoff, lone candidate for mayor on Tuesday’s ballot, represented the city in a meeting with county commissioners, with the committee being an outgrowth of two meetings of the full governing bodies.
“We’re currently encouraging EMS (county ambulance personnel) and Iola firefighters to come up with a plan that they think will work,” Stewart said. “I think people who are out there saving lives can get a plan together, one that can be tweaked a little” and find favor with the two governing bodies.
A merger, he added, “would be beneficial for everyone.”
Stewart thinks his several years experience as a 911 dispatcher gives him a little more insight, particularly that attention needs to be given to isolated areas, such as in the vicinity of Elsmore and Savonburg.
A priority of his would be to “get first responders up to speed, which would give people peace of mind,” where immediate response by Iola, Moran or Humboldt ambulances isn’t possible. “When someone calls for help, they don’t care who comes, just as long as someone does.”
Stewart also is concerned about upgrading Iola’s infrastructure — its streets, gas lines and water mains.
“We’re looking ahead with long-term plans and we have excellent folks in the administration” — administrator Carl Slaugh, his assistant Corey Schinstock and City Clerk Roxanne Hutton — Stewart said. “We’re lucky to have them and all the other city employees. I hear people talk in other towns about not having that luxury.”
Stewart, 58, was born in Kansas City while his father, George Stewart, worked at a satellite outlet for Iola’s Milne and Mann Tire. The family returned to Iola when he was 14. He graduated from Iola High in 1972 and from Allen County Community College, with emphasis on journalism, two years later.
He sandwiched two stints with Milne and Mann around a job at E-Kan Fire Equipment, with 12 years of city employment, including the dispatch job, following. He also has worked as Humboldt Municipal Court clerk, but isn’t employed full time at the moment.
Elaine Stewart, his wife, teaches family and consumer science at Marmaton Valley High School, Moran. They have three grown children, Crissy Powell, Eric and Doug.

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