PRIDE receives non-profit designation


News editor

Florence PRIDE member Scott Zogelman presented Florence Mayor Greg Winn and the city council with the good news Monday night that Florence PRIDE committee had been designated a charitable organization by the Internal Revenue Service.

The tax exempt status means Florence PRIDE will be better positioned to generate donations and matching funds from government, industry, and individuals.

"This is a real boost for us," said Zogelman. "The designation means that donations are tax deductible. It makes fund-raising a lot easier."

Zogelman asked the council for permission to sell fireworks at Moses Shane Park on U.S.-50 from July 1-4. The park is adjacent to the highway and the roundabout, but is still in the city limits.

"We have permission from Kansas Department of Transportation," said Zogelman. "And we will be able to get $1 million in insurance as soon as we know if you will give us permission to sell them."

Zogelman told the council the fireworks stand will be open from 3 to 10 p.m. and when the stand is closed the fireworks will be transferred to another location and will be secured.

Councilman Randy Mills made a motion to allow PRIDE members to sell fireworks as long as they comply with all the regulations in the city ordinance. The motion carried unanimously.

Council members had a brief discussion with county planning and zoning director Bobbi Strait about the status of the two former school buildings that have fallen into disrepair and now constitute a nuisance.

Strait told council members the new owner, James Willoughby of El Dorado has been given the requisite amount of time to answer the city's request for a plan of action on the two buildings.

"Since you sent the letter of notification by certified mail, you know he received it," she said. "You have reached the point where you can either go to court or you can allow an additional two weeks to for him to get the proposal to you indicating what his plans are for the buildings."

Strait suggested the council set a June 7 deadline if they chose to go that route.

However, on a motion by Warner, seconded by Dan Ludwig, the council voted unanimously to move on to legal proceedings against Willoughby.

Strait said she would get with Florence city attorney Marilyn Wilder and begin the process.

In other business, the council:

— tabled until a future meeting a discussion of the ordinance about tagging cats, a decision about a request from Jeff Gore to move a 1987 mobile home to an area near his shop, and a decision about sandblasting or power washing the water tower,

— heard that a routine traffic stop resulted in a weekend chase through the city when officers discovered a large amount of cash and two bricks of marijuana in a car. The driver fled into Florence in his car, but soon abandoned it and fled on foot. He was found hiding in a shed owned by Leonard Ellis and arrested.

— announced a 6:30 p.m. special meeting Thursday in the council room to discuss bids for repairs at Ninth and Main streets.

— approved a request by Phil Baldwin to allow him to join the fire department.

— heard from Baldwin and Alan Hayes that bids to clean log jams from the Cottonwood river will cost more than $35,000. Baldwin said Federal Emergency Management Agency funds should be available to pay for the project. The next step is to get the plan and bids in writing and submit them to the FEMA representative. Baldwin and Hayes will do the necessary paperwork.

— heard that Oasis students will be doing community service projects. Baldwin has contacted some elderly residents who need help with lawns and gardens. The students will do yard work for them.

— heard from Baldwin the pool chemicals are ordered, the baby pool still needs to be painted, and his workers have started mowing at the dike.

— approved the appointment of Trayce Warner to Marion County Economic Development Council.

— approved the resolution to support the county commission's request to pursue future U.S.-50 development.

— heard that councilmen Bryan Harper and Warner will personally host a Friday the 13th party at Unity Park in June. Excess playground equipment owned by the city will be moved to the park and installed.

— heard that the annual "Tour de Florence" was Sunday and 29 riders participated. Warner reported the riders' comments were positive. Mike and Jackie Sigwing organize and host the annual event.

— discussed recent newspaper issues that carried pictures of county graduating classes and called the class of Marion and Florence students members of Marion High School while other consolidated districts used hyphenated names. No action was taken following the discussion.

— also discussed the proposed concert and fireworks (a fund-raiser for county fire departments) at Marion County Lake Labor Day weekend and the fact that it will conflict with the Florence celebration. Again no action was taken although it was noted the Florence Fire Department voted against participating in the lake fund-raiser.