Residents and county frustrated with railroad crossings

The Marion County Board of Commissioners discussed county frustrations with railroad crossings in various locations in the county. Sheriff Rob Craft gave his quarterly department report and shared that he continues to get many complaints about trains blocking roads and traffic at railroad crossings for extended amounts of time.

“I need to make people aware that the law has changed and we can no longer cite the train for blocking the crossings. The federal guidelines now say that that is interstate commerce and we have no authority over it. If it’s a local train and staying within Kansas, I have authority, but I don’t for all trains,” said Craft.

Commissioner Dave Mueller stated that he spoke with several people regarding an incident last week when county residents could not cross because a train was blocking access from the afternoon of one day into the morning of the next day. Mueller was given the serial number from the train cars so he called County Attorney Brad Jantz in order to see what could be done but then the train moved within half an hour (unrelated to his contacting Jantz).

The board discussed that this problem seems to be growing and it is hard to predict when and where it will impact people most.

Sheriff Craft stated that there is a form online that people can fill out to file a complaint regarding railroad crossings. He will get the link to County Clerk Tina Spencer so she can share the information with the public.

Sheriff Craft also acknowledged a donation of $1750 from Marion Die and Fixture which a part of Bradbury Group. Craft explained that generous donations like this allow the Sheriff’s Department to do more with the schools.

The commissioners discussed that they have been finding a great need for waste management services due to services either already being canceled or about to be canceled in various locations in Marion County. As a result, arrangements were made in the meeting to hear from a few individuals who may be able to provide waste management services to those areas needing them.

Two of the biggest areas needing help are many in Goessel and those at the reservoir who have had their waste management services canceled and are in need of new services.

While the town of Goessel is still getting trash service, everyone outside of Goessel city limits lost their trash service today.

“We found that it can be very difficult unless there is an anchor for weekly services so it doesn’t surprise me that several places are having trouble making it work out here. It’s easier to do a monthly service than it is weekly,” said Marvin Nisly.

The Nisly brothers are interested in helping out near Goessel if there is a big enough need.

“I really don’t have much interest in competing with local guys. It makes sense if we take one part and others take more local areas. The area where people have called us is the Goessel corridor area, we have some interest in providing some service there. The fewer people there are, the less profitable it is.

There seems to be another need in the Northern area of the county which Calvin Wiebe is interested in helping out with if he is able to.

“There is no plan finalized yet,” said Commissioner Jonah Gehring, “but Marion County will be happy to help anyone that is willing to help us.”

The commissioners agreed to keep looking into solutions for this issue.

In other business, the board:

n approved 12/6/21 meeting minutes

n approved early checks

n discussed malt liquor licenses on holidays for locations in Marion County without reaching a conclusion; the board did approve a CMB License for Last Chance Bait

n learned of a Planning Commission District 5 appointment of Michael Woelk

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