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County in deep freeze; dogs rescued

Extreme temperatures ranging from below zero at night to teens during the day created threatening conditions for animals and people this weekend.

Marion police took several dogs into custody Sunday when temperatures were as low as 6 below zero.

Animal Health Center had alerted officials that the dogs’ owner was out of town. When police arrived at the undisclosed location, the dogs’ water bowls were frozen solid.

In Hillsboro, meanwhile, city crews were called several times between Christmas Day and New Years Day to repair broken water lines.

A Hillsboro crew worked into the wee hours of Tuesday to fix a water main break at Main and 3rd. Sts.

The temperature was about 2 degrees as workers dug a deep trench across Main St. to get to the break and repair it.

Hillsboro crews have had plenty of practice with such repairs recently.

“I think we’ve had maybe five or six since Christmas,” city administrator Larry Paine said.

Two of the breaks were on A St., one at Adams St. and the other at Wilson St. A third was at Birch and Grand Sts.

“Water was shooting out in two streams at that one,” Paine said.

Numerous residents in Peabody also reported frozen pipes during the weekend holiday, according to treasurer Liz Harder.

City maintenance workers also have had to thaw out several frozen water meters.

On Sunday, someone reported a possible fire at Peabody-Burns High School, but the smoke was actually steam rising from the school’s boiler.

“Thankfully, we have weathered the storm without a waterline break,” Peabody mayor Larry Larsen said Tuesday. “We voted Thursday to suspend turning off peoples’ water meters for unpaid bills until the weather moderates.”

Both Larsen and Marion streets director Marty Fredrickson noted residents needed to keep water dripping to prevent pipes from freezing.

Fredrickson said Marion had been fortunate to get by with few issues.

“It’s miserable working under cold conditions in muddy holes and with wet hands, but the only break we had was on a 4-inch waterline on Elm St. that took the guys a couple of hours to fix,” he said.

Six water meters also were frozen and had to be thawed.

Insulation for meters is available from the city and can be placed on top of meters to keep them from freezing, he said. He said it also was important to make sure meter lids were tightly secured.

Statewide, AAA Kansas saw a 40 percent increase in emergency roadside calls from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1.

AAA fielded 3,371 calls for help. Towing, battery problems, flat tires and lockouts were the most common requests.

Reporters Rowena Plett, Phyllis Zorn, and David Colburn contributed to this story.

Last modified Jan. 3, 2018

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