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Road dust creates problems for rural family

Staff writer

When Scott and Shana Thornhill moved to 1761 Remington Road, rural Marion, from Wichita, the road had a surface of sand treated specifically to reduce dust.

The sand had been put on the road by the construction company working on the TransCanada Keystone oil pipeline because of the extra traffic caused by the construction.

In March, Marion County Road and Bridge Department put new limestone on the road to shore-up the road base, which was damaged by the pipeline traffic.

Dust caused by the limestone is making problems for the Thornhills, they told Marion County Commission on Monday. The problems are numerous, but the two most serious are that their youngest child, 3-year-old Arthur, has asthma which is exacerbated by the dust, and Scott Thornhill works from home on computers which are susceptible to damage from the dust.

Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Herzet told the commission and the Thornhills that there are plans to put sand on the road to reduce the dust, but he needs more time for the rock to be driven into the ground to rebuild the road base.

Herzet said he wanted one more rain, not including the rain Monday, before putting sand on the road.

“I’ll do a rain dance,” Shana Thornhill said.

In other business:

  • Commissioner Dan Holub said he plans to visit Kansas Secretary of Transportation Deb Miller to discuss Remington Road between Marion and Pilsen. Traffic on the road has increased because of the interest for Father Emil Kapaun. Efforts to award Kapaun the Congressional Medal of Honor and canonize him as a saint are expected to increase traffic even further, Holub said.
  • The commission approved putting rock on 20th Road from Timber Road to 1.5 miles east of Timber, provided K-Bar Oil Company LLC pays for the 450 tons of rock required. The company wants roads that are passable in rain to reach batteries of oil tanks.
  • County Clerk Carol Maggard met with the commission in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • The commission met in closed session for five minutes to discuss personnel at Holub’s request. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Department on Aging Coordinator Gayla Ratzlaff received a letter one or two months ago from Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services, informing her that the state will no longer pay mileage for volunteers to drive to Council Grove to pick up food commodities. Ratzlaff asked if a county vehicle could be used to pick up the commodities four or five times per year. The department’s van has insufficient space to hold the roughly 300 cases in each distribution. Holub said a flatbed trailer might be available.
  • Ratzlaff met with the commission in closed session for 15 minutes to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • Personal property valuation notices will be mailed Friday, Appraiser Cindy Magill said. That means the county didn’t have to receive an extension, which was one of her goals.
  • Harry Bennett of Marion told commissioners about his concerns. He said he hoped the commission would remind Rep. Tim Huelskamp about the importance of the federal farm bill to Marion County during an upcoming appearance by the congressman. He also presented information about pension plans of state legislators. Because of the way state legislators’ pensions are calculated, a representative with 10 years in the legislature will receive an annual pension of about $15,000. For 20 years in the legislature, that would increase to $30,000, he said.

The commission had a meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. today to discuss road and bridge projects. The next commission meeting will be Friday.

Last modified April 27, 2011

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