ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
A dozen German students visiting Marion from Berlin in the 17th year of a community youth exchange program introduced themselves Monday, April 16, at the Marion City Commission meeting.
The commission presented the students with sunflower pins and received gifts in return.
Peggy Blackman, local coordinator for the German tour, thanked the community for its support of the young Germans.
She said the students always have choices of several places to go in the United States, including larger urban areas and what might seem more exotic locations, but the Marion tour always fills up first. Blackman said she believes this is because of the opportunity they have to know host families, and to experience life in the center of the nation.
Gene Winkler met with commissioners on behalf of himself and Loyd Davies to request permission to locate antennas on the smaller 70,000-gallon city water tower by the high school to help provide wireless Internet service for businesses and homes in town.
Dennis Nichols, city administrator, said the two men were asked by the city to look into such a service to foster economic development. They did, and decided to become providers themselves operating through Great Plains Wireless at Scott City, a service of Wheatland Rural Electric Cooperative.
Winkler said Great Plains will provide and install equipment with he and Davies paying fees, and in turn selling the service to businesses and homes.
Winkler said Galaxy Cable Television has given permission to locate an antenna on its tower to extend the service into the countryside, but antennas are needed in town to circumvent obstacles to the signal.
Winkler said four one-foot square antennas, about like sheets of paper, one to face each direction with a 45-degree signal spread, and one vertical antenna to receive signal would be mounted on the water tower railing.
He said a typical home would pay about a $40 monthly fee for the much faster Internet service without installing any lines. The $700 cost to provide a home equipment for hookup would be spread over several years of fees by Great Plains, he said.
Commissioner Jim Crofoot noted the service would easily make multiple hookups for businesses available.
Commissioner Larry Reiswig said he felt the city would favor approval if a contract would be drawn up relieving the city from any liability.
Reiswig asked if the Cooperative Grain & Supply elevator might be a better spot for antennas, but Winkler replied the co-ops already are working with an Iowa provider to establish links between co-op locations.
With no objections from commissioners, City Attorney Dan Baldwin said he would write such an agreement.
In other business, Winkler told the commissioners that a new Emergency Medical Services cot commissioners had approved city donation for two weeks ago has been purchased and used six times after a donation of $500 and a no-interest loan for the entire amount from Tampa State Bank.
More donations are needed to pay the loan, he said.
Nichols reported that Scully Estates is donating $5,000 to the library-railroad depot reconstruction project bringing total contributions to $120,000.
The commissioners voted 3-0 to accept a $71,489 bid from Flaming’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., for installation of air conditioning in the city auditorium by July to include sealing in the windows on the building’s south side and new attic insulation.
Nichols said alternative bids were from Suffield’s for $110,065 and Graber’s for $94,325.
The commissioners approved 3-0 an ordinance allowing the state of Kansas to implement collection of a 0.75 percent sales tax to finance industrial development bonds that was authorized in the April 2 election referendum.
After consulting with Casey Case representing Case & Son Insurance in Marion, the commissioners approved a $5,000 increase for current insurance coverage, and authorized new coverages.
Mayor Eloise Mueller extended her compliments to Harvey Sanders, utilities superintendent, and the rest of the city crew for working until midnight to repair damages last Wednesday after a day of high winds.
Sanders said three utility poles were knocked down, a transformer knocked out when wires twisted together, and many trees downed, some on lines and a home.
A police investigation of illegal debris left at the city tree dump resulted in the issuance of one summons, Sanders reported.
He said the only legal items to be left at the tree dump are trees, grass clippings, leaves and unfinished wood without glue-meaning no plywood or particle board. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with extra hours on weekends as needed.
Susan Cooper, development director, said concrete work began this week on the Seacat hardware and lumber store at the retail industrial park, and the business’s building has been delivered.
The commissioners approved 3-0 paying Baldwin $1,200 a month and $85 an hour on special projects as city attorney.
They also approved 3-0 the March investment and collateral report, a new checking account for the Marion County Peace Officers Assn. to operate the baseball complex concessions stand, a plumbing license for John Graber DBA Graber Plumbing and Heating, Newton, and warrants for $32,432.94.
Editor’s note: We inadvertently omitted this report from last week’s issue. We regret the oversight.