Letter to the editor — January 26, 2011

Civic clubs are a necessary link in the overall non-profit network, offering aid and support to the soul and well-being of our community.
The Thursday Register article about the LaHarpe ice skating park brought a memory.
An Iola Optimist Club was organized sometime during the mid-1980s — I can’t remember who was the primary organizer, but that person had such a strong interest in Iola that he or she spent time and effort to create a civic club for Iola. Some charter members recalled by I and others included Buddy Baker, Ron Seufert, Dan Hamilton, E.J. Walters, Monroe Ingroum, Marvin Shafer, Chuck Platt, Audra Stine, Merrill Hodgden and myself.
Someone in the club came up with the really good thought that an ice skating rink would be an enjoyable addition to Iola and help placate some of the winter doldrums.
When we were kids there was snow and hills and sleds and streets and wide open spaces to enjoy. If you didn’t have a sled you could slide on a snow shovel or a trash can lid or any other innovative smooth surface that would rest a human bottom as you sped down a slope. That enjoyment isn’t available in our area now, at least very often, but the ice skating rink sounded great.
The plan was presented to someone at our college. We were offered use of the tennis court and water at no cost. We went to work.
But we never succeeded. We couldn’t get a smooth ice bed heavy enough to withstand the pressure of skates. We knew that with our shoes we could slide on the thinnest layer of ice, but we had no member that looked into the physics of the plan. We just blamed the lack of low temperatures.
There are other factors that come to light as I read the Register.
The LaHarpe group had planning and engineering and maybe experience involved. The LaHarpe group has a 4-inch PVC pipe perimeter and a water-proof liner. We had a smooth asphalt tennis court and just started spraying water over it; several nights in a row when it was really cold (by our standards), all we could accomplish was a rough, icy mess.
Iola Optimist Club is gone. So are some of our former members. But we remember those members and their intent to create something enjoyable for Iola.
Congratulations to LaHarpe and their volunteers.

Ray Shannon,
Iola, Kan.