Goessel man hired as Marion County’s new EMS director

The Marion County Commission Monday met with Aulne residents who want blacktopping of 140th continued west of town, and with companies promising repairs soon to the courthouse parking lot from damage done by a heavy crane during restoration.

The commissioners hired Darryl Thiesen of Goessel to succeed JoAnn Knak as emergency medical services director at an annual salary of $28,000.

Thiesen will begin in October in order to work with Knak, whose term ends in December.

Commissioners said after completion of additional education, Thiesen may receive an additional $150 a month to offset KPERS retirement withholding, and he will be reviewed additionally each quarter of his first year.

Thiesen said he has 13 years experience as an EMT, and has served seven years as a training officer at Goessel.

Sheriff Lee Becker told commissioners he has hired Garry Klose, formerly of the Marion city police force, as both jailer and deputy beginning Oct. 1. Becker said he was able to adjust for the employment out of his existing budget.

Commissioners reviewed a request from the City of Marion seeking support in a Sept. 29 hearing for a city-owned, privately operated assisted living facility on the east side of town.

Commissioners Leroy Wetta and Howard Collett said they supported such a facility for Marion, but were concerned by the continuing trend for companies to seek non-profit status through city ownership to escape paying ad valorem taxes, especially for residents of their independent living units.

Commissioner Bob Hein said he also supported the facility for Marion, but suggested the commissioners ask County Attorney Susan Robson to give an opinion about its status.

Dan Hall and Tom Bennett of BG Consultants reviewed damage of the parking lot with commissioners. They were soon joined by Matt Deloney, vice president of Mid-Continental Restoration Co., Inc., of Fort Scott, contractors on courthouse restoration who brought in the giant crane, and Ken Heinrichs of APAC-Kansas, Inc. of Wichita, which probably will actually do asphalting to repair damages.

Hall suggested that since labor and machinery will be the major expenses for the project, and not materials, Mid-Continental might want to consider paying for additional repair of rutting of asphalt in the lot as part of the repair.

Deloney said his company would accept responsibility for repair of asphalt pitting by the crane, but didn’t think the company should probably pay for additional repair or overlay of the parking lot.

Collett, who said he wasn’t really sure the rutting was there before the crane came in, said restoration of the lot to look like it did is more important than looks of patching on a highway job because the lot as part of the courthouse represents a “county icon.”

Heinrichs said his company will make estimates, and try to complete work in October with the agreement of all parties, using asphalt and repairs that will weather to match the surrounding lot in a few months.

Raymond Just, accompanied by nine other Aulne area residents, said the group is happy to see the county black-topping 140th, the old Aulne Road, from U.S. Highway 77 at Florence west to Aulne, but would like the same surface used to upgrade conditions from Aulne west to Indigo, or 13-mile Road.

Just, and those accompanying him, contended that 140th is the main east-west thoroughfare between U.S. Highways 50 and 56, that it gets frequent “18-wheeler” truck traffic, and at times would be the best route for persons coming from the south to Ebenfeld Church, especially for out-of-towners coming for events like funerals who must go to Hillsboro first.

Just said the group wasn’t insisting on immediate action, only that the road be added to the intent-to-do list.

Gerald Kelsey, road and bridge director, said the problem in doing the road any further is money. He said resources would have to be diverted from some other road in order to do Aulne, perhaps reducing some other road from an overlay to chip and seal only.

The commissioners said if traffic is tearing up the road, they certainly will have to do something to upgrade its maintenance.

The commissioners rescinded an earlier decision to raise ambulance rates in a new all-inclusive billing rate because Knak said Medicare won’t authorize changed rates for two years. She had been advised by Medicare that increasing rates now would only result in more write-offs for the county.

The change takes what might have been a $400 billing back down to an allowed amount of as low as $205.39 with no payment for supplies, Knak said.

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