Archive for Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Letters to the editor: Township concerns

January 10, 2007

To the editor:

Residents of Stranger Township be aware! Aware that your board is making decisions affecting the safety of you and your property, without your input. The previous board fought creation of the fire department until a grassroots petition drive forced their hand. Now the current board carries on the fight, resisting the fire department's efforts to remain effective in this era of decreasing volunteer manpower. For example, the board recently disapproved partial reimbursement of firefighters for their expenses per call, and are slow-rolling a request to "hire" a part-time person to man the fire station during peak duty hours -- when volunteers are away working.

At the Dec. 28 board meeting, clerk Chuck Staples' statement typified the board's position: "As far as I am concerned, what we have is a volunteer fire department, and everything to do with fire department labor and manning requirements should be just that, strictly on a voluntary basis. If my barn is on fire, and I call the fire department and no one comes, well, that is the way it is out in the country, and everyone who moves out here needs to understand that!"

It seems that Staples sees the near future, because we have recently had calls without the capability to respond. Are we to soon have emergency services in name only?

The board's "diversion" is the Mayginnis Schoolhouse, a property of questionable utility to township residents. To the question of what, if anything, to do with it, the board president is neutral. However, the other two members want it to be a possible polling site. To that end they have already spent township funds on its roof, exterior stonework and storm windows, and are discussing much more.

Chuck Staples' family has sentimental interest in the building (many attended the school), and for Marty Trieb, treasurer, the building's proximity to his home (across the road), makes any decision on its use of interest, to include possible paving of the gravel road, to provide the "all-weather" access normally required by voting sites.

You have an opportunity to provide the board your input on these priorities at the next board meeting, at 6 p.m. March 29 at Mayginnis Schoolhouse.

Al Patterson,

Rural Tonganoxie.

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